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Israeli forces destroy Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, leaving 4 homeless

Aug. 8, 2017 12:55 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2017 10:14 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished a Palestinian home in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, leaving a family of four homeless.

The owner of the home, Hamza Shaludi, told Ma’an that bulldozers, escorted by Israeli Jerusalem Municipality crews and large Israeli police forces broke into the family home “without prior notice” and “coerced the family into evacuating the home quickly.”

Municipality workers, Shaludi said, removed some of the furniture, but the majority of the family’s belongings remained inside the home and ended up buried under the rubble.

The story continues below.

Shaludi added that upon arrival of the Israeli officials, he immediately contacted his lawyer to try and obtain a court order to postpone the demolition.

The municipality inspector, however, refused to wait for the court decision, and ordered the bulldozers to demolish the house.

Shaludi’s lawyer managed to obtain an order postponing the demolition, but it was too late. By the time the lawyer arrived at the scene, bulldozers had already demolished the majority of the home, with the exception of one small room.

As a result, Shaludi’s family of four, who moved into the home three months ago, was left homeless.

Separately, in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished a structure made of tin sheets.

A spokesperson from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available for comment.

The Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which see high approval rates.

However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ) found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, leading to only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.

Israeli authorities have stepped up issuing demolition warrants for Palestinians in East Jerusalem in recent months, particularly after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat threatened that the demolition of the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking the nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permits.

According to UN documentation, as July 31, 96 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 166 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.

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