Israel Issues Demolition Orders on Several Palestinian Homes

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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli municipal authorities delivered summons to several Palestinian homeowners in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, requesting that the families pick up demolition notices issued on their properties from Israeli authorities.

According to locals, the families were summoned to pick up the demolition notices from Israeli authorities, who have said that their homes were built without Israeli-issued building permits.

Locals identified one of the families as the al-Abbasi family in Ein al-Luza area of Silwan. However, the other families were not identified.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available to comment.

When delivering demolition notices, Israeli authorities either enter Palestinian neighborhoods and deliver the notices by hand to the soon-to-be demolished homes, or notify the Palestinian families via telephone to pick up the notices from Israeli authorities.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished a home in Silwan two times within a week. The Abu Sneina family home was demolished on August 15. With the help of Jerusalemite activists, the family rebuilt a temporary home made of tin sheets, which Israeli forces came to destroy several days later.

Earlier this month, Palestinians in Silwan expressed worry when Israeli forces entered the neighborhood and took pictures of several properties. Residents had feared that Israel was planning to issue demolition orders on the neighborhood.

According to UN documentation, as of Aug. 14, 103 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 171 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.

The Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which see high approval rates.

However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, leading to only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits being allocated to Palestinian neighborhoods.

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