Two Palestinian brothers, Fadi and Shadi Ajlouni, were forced to demolish their own family’s home, in the Old City of Jerusalem, central occupied West Bank, in order to avoid incurring a heavy demolition fee from the Israeli municipality, who ordered that the home be destroyed under the pretext that it was built without an Israeli-issued permit, on Saturday.
The demolished home was a three-storey building and measured 40-square-meters. In addition, eight family members, including children, were living in the home, according to Ma’an.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that, compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.
For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, “Since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat’s claim ‘we build for everyone.’”
According to UN documentation, three Palestinians were displaced and five buildings have been demolished in East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the year, as of January 29. In 2017, a total of 142 buildings were destroyed in East Jerusalem, displacing 233 Palestinians.