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In video - Palestinian family demolishes own home in Jerusalem

April 6, 2019 6:51 P.M. (Updated: April 7, 2019 12:09 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family from the Old City of Jerusalem was forced to demolish their own home upon order by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, on Saturday.

The al-Basti family demolished their own home on Saturday as they were only allowed until Sunday to carry out the demolition themselves before the Israeli municipality does, and thus imposes a fine of demolition costs on the family.

Nabih al-Basti said that he had built this house 20 years ago, however, the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order against it in 2000; the family was then able to postpone and freeze the order.

The Israeli municipality then ordered the family to pay a total of 75,000 shekels (almost $20,833) of fines. The final order was issued around 3 years ago.

The Wadi Hilweh Center reported that the Israeli municipality has recently ordered the demolition of 8 homes in Jerusalem City, 7 of which were demolished by their owners.

Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.

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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