The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Sunday forced a Jerusalemite citizen to demolish his house with his own hands in al-Thawri neighborhood of Silwan district, south of the Aqsa Mosque.
Homeowner Walid Shuwaiki said he found himself forced to demolish his own home in order to avoid paying the demolition expenses, which exceeds 100,000 shekels, to have been imposed on him had he not done so.
Shuwaiki noted that the Israeli municipality had already handed him a demolition notice for his 40-square-meter house, which was built two years ago, at the pretext of unlicensed construction. He affirmed that the IOA put him in a very difficult situation when it forced him to destroy the house with his own hands, but he said that “this was better than feeding the occupation’s coffers with money in exchange for the displacement of his family.”
He said that this Israeli measure dispersed his family and made him and his pregnant wife live separately in relatives’ homes until they could find another place to live in.
Since the beginning of the current year, the IOA has demolished more than 85 Palestinian homes and commercial structures and delivered notices for the demolition of another 20,000 homes in Occupied Jerusalem.
While the Palestinian population in the holy city has quadrupled to over 300,000 since 1967, Israel’s municipal authorities have only zoned nine percent of east Jerusalem land for Palestinian construction; however, even with this space being set aside, permits are rarely granted, and the result is widespread unlicensed Palestinian construction, which, of course, the IOA will order to be razed. Tens of thousands of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents now live under the constant threat of having their homes demolished by the IOA, part of a systematic Israeli ethnic cleansing policy that has been taking place in the city since it became under occupation.