This video shows Israeli occupation police and border guards brutally attacking members of the family of Nidal Abu Khalid early Tuesday morning, as they arrived to demolish two homes in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
The homes had been built without permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain through the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality.
Israeli special police units arrived at 4:30 in the morning and occupied the house and surrounding rooftops.
Abu Khalid, the homes’ owner, told Quds News Network that family members tried to remain in the houses to prevent the demolition, but Israeli forces attacked them physically, swore at them and used pepper spray, forcing them out.
According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Hashem Abu Khalid, 22, was arrested and suffered head wounds. Two other family members sustained facial injuries and 70-year-old Fatima Abu Khalid suffered respiratory difficulties after being attacked with pepper spray inside the house.
The mobile phone video above, circulated in local media and on social media, captured some of the assault. The footage show Israeli forces throwing an elderly man to the floor, forcefully kicking him once he regains his footing and then punching him in the head.
The video also shows a younger man lying on the ground, apparently injured.
Nidal Abu Khalid, also known as Abu Rumeila, said the family began construction on the two 70 square meter adjoining units at the end of 2014, after trying without success to obtain a license. He was ordered to stop building and received a demolition order that was postponed several times.
He said that Israeli forces showed up to carry out the demolition two weeks ago but had to abandon the attempt because their equipment was too big to reach the house. They promised to return and when they did Tuesday morning they lifted smaller bulldozers into position using a crane.
According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Israeli forces demolished seven so-called illegal structures — both residential and commercial — in Silwan during the month of May.
Nowhere to go
In a separate incident, Israeli forces demolished the upper story of a Palestinian home on Salah al-Din street, near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, belonging to Rafiq al-Salayma. He lived there with his wife and seven children.
A relative told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli police forced the residents out of the house at dawn on Tuesday before demolishing the upper floor that had been built to accommodate the growing family.
In a video produced by the Alternative Information Center, al-Salayma mother says, “I don’t know where they are going to go.”
Last year a total of 51 homes were demolished in Jerusalem, leaving 167 people homeless — 77 of whom were minors. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has documented 200 demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank this year alone.
Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following the 1967 War has been deemed null and void by the UN Security Council and is not recognized by any government in the world. Israel’s home demolitions are frequently condemned as violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention that protects the rights of civilians under belligerent military occupation.
Israel, however, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, enforces its own municipal laws in East Jerusalem, which impose prohibitively expensive and virtually insurmountable hurdles to Palestinians seeking permission to build on their own property.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a third of East Jerusalem has been zoned for Israeli settlements while only 13 percent is zoned for Palestinian construction. However, of this small allotment of land for Palestinians, most has already been developed, leaving Palestinians little other option than to build illegally to accommodate their growing population.
Israel has demolished more than 2,000 homes in East Jerusalem since 1967.
There are as many as 20,000 demolition orders pending.