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This Is Worse Than the West Bank: Residents of East Jerusalem Live in Constant Fear of Home Demolition

Society & Culture  (tags: Al-Issawiya, West bak, home demolitions, Palestine, Jerusalem, occupied West Bank, apartheid wall, Palestinian youth, ethnic cleansing of Palestine, world, US news-media-world, permit system, building permits )

- 133 days ago -
The women of Al-Issawiya talked feverishly and impatiently as they sat on the stairs of their apartment building on the steep slopes of Mount Scopus. The scene overlooks rubble of an apartment building demolished


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fly b (26)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 3:41 pm
The women of Al-Issawiya talked feverishly and impatiently as they sat on the stairs of their apartment building on the steep slopes of Mount Scopus. The scene overlooks rubble of an apartment building demolished by Jerusalem municipal authorities on Tuesday.

“My sons are imprisoned,” one woman wailed. “They [the Israel Defense Forces] come every night, they scare my children,” said another. “Life is hard here,” Fatima Abdelhamid Aliyan sighed as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Aliyan lived in the house that is now rubble. “Me and my husband were sleeping when they blew up the door. It was 5AM,” Aliyan said, referring to her home being demolished by Israeli soldiers on May 1. “My husband is ill from diabetes, he was pushed out of the house in his bare chest. I had to bribe a soldier to go in and get him a blouse to wear.”

Aliyan told Palestine Monitor the Jerusalem Municipality did not notify her that they were about to demolish her house. Seven month before the demolition, the Municipal Court had imposed a 250,000 shekel (70,000 USD) fine on her and her husband for building illegally. They had already paid 15,000 ($4,200) of it.

Now, Aliyan and her husband are forced stay in a different house every night. “My clothes were inside [my home], I don’t even have anything to wear,” she lamented.

Aliyan is a resident of the East Jerusalem village of Al-Issawiya. The small, overcrowded neighbourhood is encircled by Israeli settlements from the West, and cut off from the East by the separation wall built to close off the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Whoever enters the Al-Issawiyah from the wide, clean and open spaces of the adjacent settlement of Giv’at Shapira, cannot help but note the cramped, dilapidated outlook of the Palestinian neighbourhood.

The village, like other Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem, suffers from a lack of municipal services. Al-Issawiyah is annexed territory that falls within the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality. Its residents pay the same taxes as other inhabitants of Jerusalem, but the municipality does not provide services such as waste disposal, road maintenance and education.

In these dismal living conditions, clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli authorities are the order of the day. So are arrests.

An 18-year-old inhabitant of the village showed the way to the demolished house. “I just left prison one week ago,” he casually remarked. “I lost count of how many times I’ve been imprisoned. I was arrested the first time when I was 13.” He chose not to disclose his name, out of fear of retaliation. “There is no man in this village that has not been imprisoned,” he explained.

Though the demolition of Aliyan’s apartment building was a painful shock to her and her family, it came as no surprise. It is virtually impossible for the inhabitants of Al-Issawiya to obtain building permits.

According to Israeli rights group B’tselem, the Jerusalem Municipalitydeliberately avoids providing a detailed building plan for the neighbourhood, which is the only avenue for obtaining building permits legally.

Moreover, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committeeapproved a master plan in 2013 that confiscated 40 dunams (40,000 m²) of Al-Issawiya’s land for a “national park.” This was free space originally allocated for land development, and the last piece of land left empty within the boundaries of the village.

National parks are used as a tool to constrain Palestinian neighbourhoods. Since 1974, the Jerusalem municipality has approved four different national parks in East Jerusalem, on Palestinian privately owned land or in already built-up areas.

These restrictions often result in Palestinian residents of Jerusalem building without permit. Authorities then impose fines on the residents for building illegally.

Aliyan said they have to pay everything double. “We pay Arnona taxes (an annual municipal tax levied on land and building owners) and we pay fines. And now we will have to pay the expenses of the bulldozer.”

fly b (26)
Sunday May 13, 2018, 10:44 pm
Jerusalem Municipality Resumes Evicting Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah
May 13, 2018

Activists gather against the eviction of the Shamasna family in Sheikh Jarrah, March 1, 2013. Photo credit: Wadi Hilweh Information Center.


At least 75 Palestinian families live under threat of eviction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood.

Jerusalem municipal authorities delivered an eviction notice to In’am Kneibi in the Um Haroun area of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli settlement watch group Peace Now reports.

The eviction notice states that Israeli forces may evict 77-year-old Kneibi and her family anytime between May 13 and May 27, 2018. The pretext for Kneibi’s eviction is a suit filed by six Israelis who claim their families owned the home before 1948.

Israeli forces expelled over 750,000 Palestinians during the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, a time known to Palestinians as the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe.”

The 1970 Legal and Administrative Matters Law empowers Jews to reclaim property in East Jerusalem lost before 1948, even if they have already been compensated by the Israeli government for that loss. The Absentee Property Law of 1950 bars Palestinians from filing similar claims.

According to Peace Now, approximately 75 Palestinian families live under threat of eviction by the Jerusalem municipality – evictions carried out for the explicit purpose of opening the home to Israeli settlers. The municipality suspended evictions from Sheikh Jarrah for eight years, until the displacement of the Shamasneh family in 2017 and now the impending displacement of Kneibi.

Palestinian homes threatened with eviction by the Israeli municipality and Israeli settlements. Photo credit: Peace Now.

Israeli authorities call the Palestinian neighborhoods that hug Jerusalem’s Old City – Sheikh Jarrah, a-Tur, Silwan, Mount Zion, and the Kidron Valley – the Holy Basin of Jerusalem. This area is crucial to Israeli settlement plans, which aim to form four linking concentric circles of settlements, starting with the Old City, followed by the “Holy Basin,” Jerusalem’s annexation border, and finally the West Bank.

The timing of the Kneibi family’s eviction overlaps with the commemoration of the Nakba on May 15, which Israelis will celebrate as their state’s 70th anniversary. The US government plans to inaugurate a US Embassy in Jerusalem as a gesture of shared celebration with the Israeli state.

Amalya Dubrovsky is the editor of

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday May 14, 2018, 11:37 am
Noted and shared news articles over social media to raise and spread awareness.

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 12:26 am
“Horrific, unprecedented”: Israel massacres almost 60 Palestinians in Gaza. (PODCAST)
14 May 2018

A report from the Great March of Return, after Israeli forces kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza; excerpts of talks by Ghada Karmi, Joseph Massad, Ilan Pappe and Salman Abu Sitta.

Read more here:…stinians-gaza

(Photo: Palestinian protesters demand their rights during the Great March of Return, Rafah, Gaza Strip, 14 May. Photo by Mahmoud Bassam/APA Images)
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