Monday, November 23, 2020

Palestinians in Jerusalem forced to demolish own homes

By Iman Waqeel - March 09, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [demolition] [House Demolition]

A Palestinian resident of the occupied city of Sakninwas forced to demolish his own home for the second time in order to evade fines from Israeli municipality in the occupied city of Sakhnin.

In January 2019 alone, 39 structures were recorded to be demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories, displacing at least 44 people, 18 of which are children.
Hassan Othman had already demolished his own home 18 months ago, after the Israeli municipality in Sakhanin declared it lacked the necessary building licenses.
Othman then attempted to take the issue to court to no avail in November of 2017, and demolished his own home to evade a demolishing fee of 300,000 shekels or 80,000 dollars.
As only 4% of building permit applications from Palestinians are approved by the Israeli authorities, and application costs running as high as tens of thousands of dollars, several Palestinians have no choice but to build their homes without permits
If discovered by Israeli authorities, families immediately receive a demolition order from the Israeli coordination in the West Bank.
With costly demolishing fees, Othman is one of many Palestinians increasingly turning to self-demolish their own homes.
Restrictive policies on home construction that consequent in costly home demolition, and push the incentive for Palestinians to self-demolish, is one of many bureaucratic mechanisms implemented by Israel.
Not only does it legally expel Palestinians, and perpetuate long patterns of dispossession, demolition, and ethnic cleansing; but also forces Palestinians to participate in the violation of their own rights and physically implement their own dispossession and homelessness.
Home demolishing violates international law, as is clearly stated in Article 53 of the Geneva convention where: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
Yet pushing Palestinians to demolish their own homes and violate their own rights in place of the occupation themselves, also eases international pressure on Israel.
The IDF continues to justify home demolition as a deterrent against terrorism.
However, the Israeli military stopped punitive demolition orders in 2005 following reports by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks.
Home demolitions resumed in July 2014, pushing many human rights organisations to recognise home demolitions by Israel as a form of collective punishment and a war crime against Palestinians.
Othman was forced to demolish his own home for the second time, and in a statement said: I lost my first house and now I am losing the second one after I had fallen in the trap of the [Israeli] municipality of Sakhnin.

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