Gaza,(DRAH.ps)--- Why would 2019 be any different from 2018? Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes goes on unabated, as though it were a completely legal occurrence. In fact, 2018 saw a 21% increase over 2017.
On Wednesday, January 2, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian-owned home in the Jerusalem district.
The house belonged to the Maghrabi family. It was built five years ago in al-Matar area of the Qalandia neighborhood on the Jerusalem side of the Israeli wall that surrounds the West Bank. Six members of the Shweiki family lived in the home, reports al-Jazeera. Following the demolition, residents’ belongings were left stacked outside next to the rubble of what used to be their home.
Israeli forces demolish the Mughrabi family’s home in Qalandia, January 2, 2019. Photo credit: Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
Israeli authorities claim that the house lacks construction permits. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the owner of the house Hamza al-Mughrabi has attempting licensing his house under Israeli law for years.
The Israeli municipality zones only 8 to 13 percent of East Jerusalem for Palestinian residential construction. As a result, many East Jerusalem residents are forced to build without permits to avoid overcrowding. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel found that 20,000 homes in East Jerusalem – 39 percent of all homes in East Jerusalem – lack Israeli construction permits.
Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem are the target of Israeli settlement plans, which aim to link four concentric circles of settlements, starting with the Old City, followed by the “Holy Basin” (Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, a-Tur, Mount Zion, and the Kidron Valley), Jerusalem’s annexation border, and finally the West Bank.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories reports that Israeli authorities demolished 177 Palestinian-owned structures in Jerusalem in 2018, representing a 25 percent increase compared to 2017. In the West Bank, Israeli authorities demolished 283 Palestinian-owned homes, representing an 18 percent increase compared to 2017. In total, Israeli authorities demolished 480 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2018, representing a 21 percent increase compared to 2017.