Days of Palestine

Friday, March 24

House demolitions in Hebron and Jerusalem leave 14 Palestinians homeless

Days of Palestine -

Over just 24 hours, Israeli occupation officials forcefully demolished three houses and several agricultural and commercial buildings in Jerusalem and Beit Ummar, leaving 14 Palestinians homeless.

One of the houses destroyed northwest of Hebron was 150 square meters and still under construction, according to Mohamed Awad, a Palestinian activist.

Seizure of Palestinian property by Israeli forces has become routine for inhabitants of Beit Ummar however this time families received no warning.

Last Wednesday the Ubaidat family arrived home to find Israeli bulldozers halfway through the demolition of three small houses and a barn on their property in Jerusalem, leaving their livestock scattering and belongings strewn under the rubble.

Ali, a Jerusalem native, lived in the main house with his wife. Ali’s son, Moatez, and his four children inhabited another house on the property, built-in 1992, and relative Walid Ubaidat and his five children in the third. Ali was allowed to collect his belongings in advance when Israeli forces destroyed his property for the first time in 1994.

Additionally, after the demolition, fences were raised surrounding the site, ensuring the family would not return.

Israeli forces routinely claim that Palestinian owned houses and businesses are illegally constructed, but these building permits are nearly impossible to obtain for locals, especially in Jerusalem.  Palestinians must first prove ownership of the land, however about 90 per cent of the land in the eastern part of the city is not listed in the Israel Land Registry.

An additional obstacle developed by Israel’s Justice Ministry is the 'mukhtar protocol’, requiring citizens to collect signatures of consent from mukhtars, local leaders or clan heads recognised by the city hall.

 In area C, home to around 300,000 Palestinians, obtaining a permit is particularly difficult; in 2014-16 only one permit was issued to a Palestinian resident.