Friday, August 17, 2018

IDF destroy plant nurseries in Hizma, East Jerusalem


By Naomi Kundera - June 27, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jerusalem] [demolition]

On Monday June 25, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) destroyed three plant nurseries and one automobile parts business without warning in the East Jerusalem village of Hizma. 

Afeef Askar, owner of one of the plant nurseries, told Palestine Monitor they were given only 10 minutes to evacuate before bulldozers would demolish his business.
 
“I barely had time to get my phone off the charger and grab my wallet,” Askar said.
 
The IDF did not give a reason as to why the demolition was taking place.
 
Bulldozers showed up to the site at around seven in the morning, claiming the area to be a new military zone.
 
Everything was destroyed - including the many animals that Askar and his colleagues sold - and the rubble was taken away. By 10 in the morning, you could barely tell anything was there before.
 
The only thing the IDF left was a wide trench and some red-and-white striped tape. The open space behind this trench now has restricted access. Anyone who passes, will promptly be arrested.
 
Askar’s nursery had been there for over five years, and he claimed he had never received a demolition notice before the army and bulldozers arrived yesterday morning.
 
He had, however, received notices almost every year from the Israeli military regarding a seemingly arbitrary violation that his business committed, such as not using the correct building material or his products being too close to the road.
 
He was forced to comply to the military’s demands and quickly change what they asked, along with paying a fine that could reach up to 10,000 ILS.
 
Each of the four businesses were worth at least 200,000-300,000 ILS and employed five Palestinians, meaning 20 families are now without a primary source of income.
 
Askar fortunately has another nursery down the road, where he pays 10,000 ILS each year as a land tax to Israel. But, when he pleaded with the IDF to let him pay a similar tax on the property that was destroyed yesterday morning, Askar told Palestine Monitor that they refused.
 
After the allotted 10 minutes he was given to grab his belongings, Askar was forcefully shoved out of the way and restricted from taking any videos or pictures of the demolition.
 
Since the First Intifada in 2000, systemic closures on the small village of Hizma have been taking place as a form of collective punishment.
 
Though classified as 'Area C’ - under Israeli military law - Hizma is technically a part of East Jerusalem. Now, 40% of the original village lies behind the separation wall and 2500 dunams (just over 600 acres) have been confiscated for the construction of multiple settlements.
 

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