On Sunday, five Palestinian families from the Wadi Qaddoum neighborhood in Silwan, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied capital, Jerusalem, were forced to empty their homes ahead of their demolition by Israel.

The families of Tawil, Nassar, and Burqan had to vacate five homes and remove the furniture, windows, doors, and all essentials from their properties after receiving the final demolition orders.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan (Silwanic) said the families built their homes in 2001 and 2016 and have since been paying fines and fees to the City council, but Israel issued a ruling in late 2022 authorizing the demolitions and using their lands for what it called “public projects.”

Silwanic added that the families initially managed to get an injunction temporarily freezing the demolitions, but an Israeli court granted a green light for the demolitions and told the families they must demolish their homes at their expense or face excessive fines and fees in addition to demolition costs if the City Council destroys the buildings using its workers and equipment.

Silwanic also said Israel demolished 23 homes, and seven homes were demolished by their owners, including a residential building of 16 apartments, this past May due to Israel’s illegal policies in occupied Jerusalem, including Silwan, Jabal Al-Mokabber, Sheikh Jarrah, Sur Baher, and Shu’fat refugee camp.

While the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank continue to be denied construction permits and are losing their homes due to policies designed to work against them, Israel continued to build and expand its illegal colonies and retroactively licenses existing illegal colonialist outposts on stolen Palestinian lands.

Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and various United Nations and Security Council resolutions. They also constitute war crimes under International Law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory.”