Feature: Israel's home demolition policy threatens Palestinians' presence in Jerusalem

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-06 21:28:02|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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RAMALLAH, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The honeymoon of Mos'ab al-Hamadin was turned into a nightmare after his home was demolished in Wadi Abu Hindi community of eastern Jerusalem.

"The Israeli army's bulldozers destroyed our home on Wednesday," said Mos'ab, siting next to the ruins of his home, which is located on an arid land planted with some shrubs.

Mos'ab and his elder brother Mohammad both got married 25 days ago.

"We were dreaming of a beautiful life and a stable family, but now we are homeless. They are trying to force us to leave," said Mos'ab.

The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem has demolished 165 houses east of the city since the beginning of 2019, according to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem).

The Palestinians accuse Israel of taking measures to prevent the Palestinian communities from expanding and force those who prepare to settle down there to leave.

Wearing the traditional Palestinian black-and-white Kufiya, or scarf, Mos'ab and Mohammad's father, in the Palestinian community in Abu Hindi Valley of Jerusalem, said "the Israeli bulldozers started demolishing the houses without warning."

"We were even prevented from resorting to legal procedures to stop the demolition," Abu Mohammad al-Hamadin said. "A few days before the demolition, an Israeli crew came to the area and took photos of our house."

"When we spoke to the lawyers, they told us that nothing could be challenged because there was no notice of demolition or a warning we gave to the court," he recalled.

At present, some 65 Palestinian families live in the Wadi Abu Hindi community, complaining that Israel bans them from building homes on their own land.

This community is similar to the nearby Palestinian community of Abu Nawar, where Abu Emad al-Jahalin, chief of the community, told Xinhua that many homes in Abu Nawar have been demolished recently "under the pretext of not obtaining the necessary license."

Karim Jubran, B'Tselem's spokesman, said in a press statement that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has escalated its demolition efforts.

The municipality also fined home owners and asked them to pay for the demolition. As a result, many Palestinian residents in Jerusalem chose to demolish their homes on their own, he said.

The Israeli demolition policies outraged the Palestinians who consider East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, while Israel considers the whole city as its eternal capital.

The Palestinians who live in different communities in Jerusalem are deeply concerned that their homes will be demolished. The Israeli police declined to comment on the Palestinian accusations.

An Israeli police spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "demolitions took place only for houses that are illegally constructed and are in a dangerous condition."

He added that owners of the houses are notified of "the removal of the illegal construction."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the Palestinian territory, a move that was not recognized by the international community.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced at the end of 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and in May 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Israel was moved to the city.