Israel demolishes house, stores in Jerusalem

Jerusalem/PNN/

Israeli occupation authorities Wednesday morning demolished a Palestinian house and stores in the occupied city of Jerusalem, according to local sources.

They said that a sizable Israeli police force escorted a bulldozer into the al-Sal‘a area of the al-Mukkaber neighborhood, where the heavy machinery tore down a house belonging to Muhammad Harb, reducing it to rubble.

Built 11 years ago, the one-storey two-apartment house was demolished purportedly for being built without a license, displacing Harb’s family, which comprises eight members, including three teens under 13 years.

The sources added that police proceeded with the house demolition without informing the house owner in advance and although the owner has secured a court ruling in favor of halting the demolition.

Speaking in an interview with the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Harb said that police forcefully entered his house while the kids were getting prepared to school to kick the family out and hardly allowed them to evacuate their belongings.

Hard pointed that he approached several attorneys and architects to help him obtain a license to his house, but to no avail. The occupation authorities have refused to grant him a license citing flimsy pretexts, including designating the area as a green zone.

Meanwhile, police demolished two Palestinian stores in the vicinity of the checkpoint at the entrance of Hizma citing the same flimsy pretext.

WAFA correspondent said that demolished structures were used as a building material store and a car dealership, both belonging to the al-Khatib family.

The family was surprised that the bulldozers carried out the demolition without informing any prior notice.

Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

At the same time, the municipality and government build tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

According to a report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli High Court could be liable for war crimes for their policies that led to the dispossession of Palestinians from their properties in Area C of the West Bank.

The report, Fake Justice, shows that the court’s support of Israeli planning policy is tantamount to support for dispossession and forcible transfer of Palestinians, a war crime under international law.

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