The Israeli Jerusalem municipality plans to go ahead with the demolition of 5 large buildings, containing 138 apartments, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Kafr Aqab after the District Court rejected an appeal to the decision by its Palestinian residents.
According to Ha’aretz, the town is in the illegally annexed East Jerusalem therefore, it’s under Jerusalem Municipality jurisdiction. The demolitions have been authorized under the pretext that the buildings were constructed without permits, and lie in the path of a planned road linking al-Matar neighborhood with the Qalandiya military checkpoint.
Since the Apartheid Wall was built, widespread construction has occurred in the area without permits because zero permits have been issued, despite numerous applications. Chair of the Kafr Aqab Residents’ Committee,Muniz Zagheri, says 52,000 people are living in such unauthorized building, along with schools and HMO clinics. Though only 20 of the apartments are occupied, all have been sold. The owners of the apartments “bought because they know there are no demolitions here.
A researcher for the left-wing Ir Amim organisation, Aviv Tatarsky, criticized the pending demolition he said, “After long years during which the state ignored Kafr Aqab, it would be a mistake to come now and destroy the homes of dozens of families in the name of laws that the State of Israel itself was violating.”
For Israelis living in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, the planning, marketing, development and infrastructure are funded by the Israeli government. Elsewhere, outside the settlements, individual Palestinian families must negotiate the complex, lengthy and expensive permit process in order to build.
The Jerusalem Municipality defended the demolitions, stating that the road will make it easier for tens of thousands of people, and “construction of the road for the benefit of all residents is fair and necessary.” However, in their appeal, residents stated that the road was not crucial, and could be built without demolitions in any case