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Women's Voices: Shireen H. - Property destruction

Name: Shireen H.
Age: 36
Location: Silwan, East Jerusalem
Nature of incident: Property destruction
Date of incident:   19 July 2016
On 18 and 19 July 2016, Israeli officials raid the house of 36 year old mother from Silwan multiple times and search it without explanation, push her daughter to the ground and cause damage to the furniture, before demolishing an adjacent structure.
Shireen is a 36 year old mother of six children aged 19 - 9 from the neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
“On 18 July 2016, at around 1:00 a.m. we received a phone call from our neighbors alerting us that Israeli policemen were surrounding our house. Seconds later I heard loud banging at the front door. My husband Arafat rushed to answer.”
“A large number of policemen and Special Forces were standing outside the door and on the staircase; together with about five intelligence officers, and about 15 other officials. They searched the house, without explanation and then left.”
“At around noon on the same day, as I came back home, I saw a large number of Israeli policemen, hundreds of them, surrounding the house. Some were installing cameras while others filled the streets and the neighbors’ roof tops.”
“I went into my house and told my children to get ready to go outside, moments later I heard loud banging at the front door. My son Mohammed answered and asked the officer if they had any written documents. The officer responded with a no. I told the officer that my husband wasn’t home and therefore I could not let him in, but he told me that he didn’t need my permission and that he was going to search the house   
“A large number of police, intelligence, and Special Forces officers entered my house and started to search it; they caused damages to the furniture, they search as if they were looking for something but they did not tell us what they were looking for.”
“When Mohammed asked the policemen to take it easy while searching the house, a policeman attacked him and beat him. My daughter Tamara (13) wanted to defend her brother but a policeman pushed her away and she fell to the ground, then a policeman threw a piece of wood at her but luckily it didn’t hit her.”
“My son Shadi came back home and was surprised to see Israeli policemen inside our house, the minute he got inside the house four soldiers held him and started to beat him without justification.”
“I felt totally helpless as I stood aside and watched my children being beaten in front of my eyes. Then the policemen made me take them around the house, so they could search it.”
“When they were done searching, they arrested my sons, Shadi and Mohammed, without telling us why and without giving us any written documents. Then they told us my sons were accused of obstructing their work.”
“At about 9:00 pm on the same day, again, I heard loud banging at the door. My husband turned on the lights and opened the door. There were 8 Israeli officers. My husband did not allow them in, and they left.”
“At around 4:45 a.m. my husband and I woke up to unusual sounds in the neighborhood. We looked out the balcony and saw Israeli officials demolishing our storerooms which my husband rents out to earn us some money. They had two bulldozers and military jeeps and two GMC cars.”
“My husband ran outside but the officials did not allow him to get near the site. One of the soldiers pointed his flash light at me while I was still standing on the balcony and ordered me back into the house, but I refused. The demolition process started at 5:00 a.m. and was over by 7:00 a.m.”

“My sons were released within 24 hours. Over the past 5 years we have received multiple warnings for building without permits. My family and I feel stressed and terrified that the Israeli officials might come back and demolish the house that we live in. It is almost impossible to obtain building permits; that is why we are left without a legal option.” 

keyword: Jerusalem Women | Property Destruction | Violence against women