Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights 23 September 2003
The Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights (JCSER) regards the demolition of a three-story building in As-Shayyah, east of Jerusalem’s Old City, as part of the continuing escalation in Israel’s house demolition policy against Palestinian Jerusalemites. During the month of August, there was an unprecedented escalation in the demolition of Palestinian houses, with twenty-two houses demolished during this single month. During September, to date a total of seven buildings, with twelve apartments, have been demolished, in addition to a cement wall surrounding a piece of land with an area of two dunums, belonging to Azzam Maraqa.
The latest demolition destroyed the three-story building belonging to Mohammed Taleb As-Sayyad. It had a total area of 650 square meters and was home to fifteen members of Mr. As-Sayyad’s extended family. The structure of the house was completed a month ago. When Mr. As-Sayyad started the finishing work, he received a court order demanding that he refrain from further work, with the Israeli authorities citing ‘illegal construction’. Three days ago, municipal teams came and took pictures of the building in preparation for its demolition.
Before the demolition, an argument took place between the demolition team and policemen and the home-owner, resulting in the injury of 32-year-old Khaled As-Sayyad.
It is noted that Israeli bulldozers also demolished Rashid Za’atreh’s 130-square-meter house, located at the intersection of the Al-Izzariyya, At-Tur and Az-Za’yim neighborhoods, east of Occupied East Jerusalem, on Monday, 22 September 2003. Here, too, a home was demolished, with the Israeli authorities citing ‘illegal construction’. A likely factor is the home’s location 100 meters across from the eastern circle road around Jerusalem. The house was home to twelve family members, most of whom are children.
Because of the Israeli government of occupation’s complex and discriminatory building regulations, including prohibitively high building permits (which are often denied to Palestinians), Palestinian Jerusalemites are often forced to build or extend their homes without permits. Meanwhile, Israeli construction of settlements intended solely for occupancy by Israeli Jewish residents continues unabated on Palestinian land in and around Jerusalem.