Early Monday morning, the Jerusalem Municipality, operating under the protection of large units of Israeli police and border guards, demolished three Palestinian homes: one house in Al-Ashqariyeh in Beit Hanina, a second house near the Nusseibeh neighborhood, north of Occupied Jerusalem and a house in Al-Issawiyya neighborhood.
The Israeli bulldozers demolished Saleh Mahmoud Ismail Muhe Eddin’s 250-square-meter house in Al-Ashqariyeh in Beit Hanina. Of the thirteen family members who lived in the house, ten are children. The house consisted of two apartments [seven rooms and bathrooms]. The house was demolished despite a court decision to postpone the demolition until next month. The family’s furniture was thrown outside before the house was demolished.
The second house belonged to Khader Farid Al-Ja’bari and had a total area of 180 square meters. Five family members lived in the house, which consisted of five rooms.
The third house belonged to Khaled Nimer Mahmoud and had a total area of 60 square meters, located in the Al-Issawiyya neighborhood of Occupied Jerusalem. Of the seven family members who lived in the house, five are children. The house was demolished for the second time. The first time was more than a year ago; the Mahmoud family had subsequently rebuilt their home.
According to data gathered by the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER), dozens of Palestinian houses in the area, especially in Al-Ashqariyeh, are threatened with demolition. According to the local residents of Al-Ashqariyeh, the number of houses currently under threat has reached approximately one hundred.
The Center strongly condemns Israel’s house demolitions, land confiscation, and the issuing of demolition orders against dozens of Palestinian houses – harsh measures, which have escalated sharply since the beginning of August 2003. The Center regards the month of August as the worst for Palestinian Jerusalemites to date. Since the beginning of the month, Israeli bulldozers have demolished seven houses, one garage, and a 900-meter cement wall. Over 120 demolition orders have been issued and delivered to Palestinian home-owners throughout Occupied Jerusalem’s neighborhoods.
The Center’s Director General, Ziad Al-Hammouri, said, ‘The demolition orders, house demolitions, and high fines in the amount of tens of thousands of shekels, have coincided with a large-scale campaign of land confiscation in Sur Baher, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Abu Dis, and Al-Izzariyya. During one week, a total of 500 dunums have been confiscated from these areas for the purpose of building the ‘security fence’, currently under construction.’
‘The purpose of the Israeli demolition orders and land confiscation is to uproot the largest number of Palestinian residents and to control areas as large as possible – all under the claim of ‘security reasons’, said Mr. Hammouri.