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Women's Voices: Abeer W. - Threat of home demolition

Name: Abeer W.
Age: 34
Location: Ein Al-Luzah, Silwan, East Jerusalem
Nature of incident: Threat of eviction
Date of incident: 20 August 2016

On 20 August 2016, Israeli municipality officials accompanied by the police deliver a warning to Abeer’s family for allegedly building without a permit.

 Abeer lives with her husband and their 3 children aged 11 – 13 in Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem
 
“On 20 August 2016, at around 8:00 a.m., I woke up to the sound of very scary and loud banging at the front door of our building. I was shivering of fear, my children remained asleep while I woke my husband up then we both went downstairs and met my mother in law who opened the front door.”
 
“I saw two municipality employees, wearing white shirts and dark blue trousers, and four Israeli soldiers, one police car and one policewoman standing outside. It was a Saturday and we were surprised to see the Municipality employee show up on their day off.”
 
“The Municipality employee took my husband’s Identification Card number, and handed him a warning for building without a permit and made him sign a paper as proof of receipt.”  
 
“Although Murad tried to explain that we had applied for a building permit, but the employee insisted that we had to follow up with the municipality. Then the Municipality employee along with a policeman took pictures of the house from inside and outside.”
 
“The following day, Murad informed the family lawyer who in turn notified us that a court hearing was scheduled on 13 September 2016 at 9:00a.m. Murad and the lawyer attended the hearing and presented official documents that proved our case. The hearing was adjourned.”
 
“This was the first time that we received a warning for building without a permit, although we were surprised by this action as Murad had applied for a permit back in January 2000.”
 
“So far, we have paid over 80,000NIS, including lawyer’s fees, and we were fined 20,000NIS on the day of the hearing.”
 
“For the last 16  years each time we applied for a building permit our application was denied, and each time it was denied we appealed. We kept appealing hoping that at some point we would obtain a building permit   
 
“We could have ignored the process and not paid all these amounts of money, but we chose to keep following up the case because we feel that we belong to the area that we live in, in Silwan.”
 

“My family and I feel constantly insecure and unsafe, knowing the municipality might come at any time and demolish our home.”


keyword: Jerusalem Women | Property Destruction