Posted August 30, 2020 9:28 am by

Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, ZZZ, Aug 30 – Palestinian Alaa Borqan preferred to tear down his own house in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem after a court ruled that it was constructed illegally and must be demolished.

The 35-year-old was given two options: to destroy his four-bedroom home in the Jabal Mukaber neighbourhood himself, or to let the city council do it and then send him the bill.

The Israeli authorities regularly raze homes built by Palestinians on their own lands in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank if they lack Israeli construction permits.

The catch, according to an UN study, is that such permits are “virtually impossible” to obtain and the result is a chronic housing shortage.

“I applied to city hall for a building permit, but without success,” Borqan told AFP.

“I spent around 75,000 shekels ($22,000, 18,700 euros) on legal fees and on a ground survey,” he said.

Ben Avrahami, an advisor to the city authorities on east Jerusalem, said that every case is handled strictly according to the law.

“The demolitions are being carried out by order of an Israeli court and are subject to careful legal scrutiny,” he said.

The Israeli authorities regularly raze homes built by Palestinians on their own lands in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank if they lack Israeli construction permits © AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI

Borqan, a father of four, however said he was dismayed after he hired a bulldozer that tore down his own house in front of his eyes.

He said he had invested all his savings in the building, taking on a debt of 800,000 shekels and putting in four years of work.

The court, which ruled the structure illegal because it was built without a permit, fined him 60,000 shekels for the offence.

He now lives with his family in a house that he rents for 2,800 shekels a month.

Standing in the rubble of his former house, he recounted “how difficult it is to demolish (a home) with one’s own hands”.

– ‘Psychological effects’ –

According to city hall, 44 houses have been demolished in east Jerusalem since the start of this year.

Some owners prefer to raze their homes themselves to avoid having to pay sometimes thousands of shekels to the city’s demolition crews.

Under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War, east Jerusalem is home to around 300,000 Palestinians and 200,000 Jewish settlers.

Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem

According to city hall, 44 houses have Read More…Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem  Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem  Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem  Denied permits, Palestinians raze own homes in Jerusalem