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Palestinian family demolishes own home near Jerusalem

March 30, 2019 10:31 A.M. (Updated: March 31, 2019 11:41 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family demolished their own home and steel structures, on Friday evening, in the Pisgat Zeev illegal Israeli settlement, that is built on Palestinian lands of the Hizma village north of occupied Jerusalem, upon order by the Israeli High Court.

Youssef Askar, family member, said that the family began to demolish their structures upon receiving an order by the Israeli High Court allowing them until mid-April to carry out the demolition themselves.

The family would be fined by Israel and forced to pay demolition fees, if the demolition is carried out by Israel.

Asmar added that the Israeli authorities have attempted to seize control over the land, on which the family property is built, for 35 years.

The Israeli authorities reportedly claim that the land was previously confiscated, however, when the family proved ownership in Israeli courts, they were told that the land belongs to the Custodian of Absentee Property.

Askar pointed out that they had built their home out of cement and steel on the 2-dunam land between 1982 and 1985, in addition to a warehouse and a steel structure used for agricultural purposes.

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.'"

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