“To finish building this house and get married – these are my dreams, that’s it, but apparently they don’t want it,” said Amer Makhlouf.
The young man’s home in Qalansawa was among 11 demolished in the town on 10 January on the pretext that it was built without a permit.
Makhlouf, like the rest of the residents of Qalansawa, is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. There are a number of government policies which prevent Palestinians from building legally to accommodate natural population growth.
“The timing is clear to all,” Abed al-Karim, former mayor of Qalansawa, said. “This provocation is typical for an extreme right-wing government.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, promised settlers due to be evacuated from Amona, an unauthorized outpost in the occupied West Bank, that he would apply the law equally by cracking down on “illegal construction” across the country.
Residents of Qalansawa object to the comparison of landowners in their town with Israeli settlers who build on land taken from Palestinians in the West Bank.
“[Netanyahu] compares settlers that steal lands to the land owners,” said Khaled Abu Arar, a resident of Qalansawa. “We, the landowners, don’t have any other place to live.”
A large demonstration to protest the demolitions was held on 13 January.
“[Netanyahu] doesn’t think about what will happen to the person whose home will be demolished, after all the money he put into the house,” said Abu Arar.
“In a second, it’s gone.”
Video and editing by Keren Manor/Activestills. Footage of demolitions by Amer Makhlouf.