Jerusalem: A further 4 Apartments Demolished by the Occupation Authorities
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Jerusalem: A further 4 Apartments Demolished by the Occupation Authorities

The Occupation authority in Jerusalem and its bulldozers demolished 4 apartments yesterday under construction in Sur Baher, south of Jerusalem city. The houses belong to Salem el Bakhit and Ayman Hammad. Even the spontaneous resistance of the people in the neighbourhood was unable to stop the destruction.

***image2***When the bulldozers moved into the area, the population was confronting the Occupation forces. The Occupation had to put the entire area under curfew and had deployed soldiers to beat the people with sticks and with the backs of their guns in order to execute the demolitions in Sur Baher. Two people were injured. Ali Salim was severely beaten in his face while another resident suffered injuries to his legs. Both required hospital attention.

The house of Salem al Bakhit comprised two apartments with a total size of 220 m2. Construction of this house began a year ago. Shortly after the beginning of the construction, the occupation authorities ordered him to stop building. He complied, and began the long process of applications and requests for a building permit for the house.

His lawyers sent his file to the Occupation courts. Finally, on the 19th of this month, the court decided to answer his requests and to communicate the decision of the court after a week’s time via fax. He said: “After one week exactly, we didn’t receive anything via fax – neither me nor my lawyer. The only answer they sent were the bulldozers that came to destroy my house and the wall around it.”

After they finished destroying the house of al Bakhit , the Occupation bulldozers moved to destroy Ayman Hammad’s building, which was under construction in Sur Baher. His building would have hosted two flats and covered 160 m2 . Hammad explained that at the end of last year the Israeli court decided to freeze the demolition order for this house for three years and to look again into his file after this period. This decision came after he had to pay 50 000 NIS to the Occupation authority to stop the demolition order for the house. The house was to be home to him and his family as the renting of houses for Palestinians in Jerusalem becomes ever more expensive and difficult.

In both cases, the Occupation used the general policy of denying building permits to attempt to justify the demolition of the houses. Since the beginning of this year the Occupation has demolished 53 houses in Jerusalem area alone. During the whole of 2006, 160 Palestinian houses were demolished in the city. This shows an increased dedication to the already dramatic policy of house destruction in Jerusalem by the Occupation in 2007.