< HOME  Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bulldozers demolish home, workshop in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Bulldozers of the Jerusalem municipal council escorted by Israeli police and border guards demolished a newly constructed home and a printing workshop Tuesday in the neighborhood of Al-Isawiya, north of the Old City.

The home, under construction for two years, was a 125-square-meter building belonging to Atiyya Imteir, a father of eight and worker at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

While the first demolition went unopposed, the subsequent demolition of a 20-meter-square printing shop in Al-'Isawiya, owned by Robin Ulayyan, was contested by family members. Witnesses said the protest was quashed using tear gas.

Speaking with Ma'an following the demolition, Imteir said that he was given no prior notice that the building would be demolished, though family members said a "stop work order" had been delivered to the home a year and a half earlier. The owner made no mention as to whether he had initiated legal proceedings following the delivery of the papers.

The orders, known locally as "demolition orders," demand that homeowners appear before a magistrates court to defend allegations, in this case that the home was being built without a permit. Because legal action at the court rarely succeeds, the stop work orders essentially constitute a demolition order.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, 20,000 homes in East Jerusalem have standing demolition orders against them, while thousands of others have "stop work" orders, mandating owners to cease construction and apply for a permit to build.

Occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem was illegally annexed to Israel in the 1980s, bringing more than 225,000 Palestinians under Israeli governance. Residents must apply to a municipal government they do not recognize for permits to build. Those who do apply face discrimination, with a small fraction of residents being granted permits.

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