A Palestinian from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, in the central occupied West Bank, demolished his own home on Thursday afternoon, upon order by an Israeli court.

Fadi Shawamreh said, according to Ma’an News Agency, that he had to demolish his own home; that was built in 2006, following an order by an Israeli court that the house was not licensed.

Shawamreh said that a demolition order against his house was issued after he started renovating the ceiling and walls of the house, over the past two years.

He added that he was able to postpone the demolition several times until a final order was issued by the court to demolish the structure.
The court allowed Shawamreh until the beginning of September to carry out its order, or else paying demolition fees imposed by the Israeli municipality for crews that would be carrying out the demolition instead.

Shawamreh said that Israeli municipality crews, escorted by Israeli forces, had raided his house several months ago to demolish the structure, evacuated its content and assaulted those present at the time, however, the demolition was prevented by a lawyer.

He pointed out that the municipality had imposed a fine of 50,000 shekels, on another part of his house, a steel-structure with a cement floor, several years ago.

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.'”

(archive photo image)