Hizma, East Jerusalem
|Nature of incident:
|Date of incident:
15 February 2017
On 15 February 2017, a family in a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem are forced to demolish their own house for lack of a building permit after the authorities threatened to demolish it over their heads if they didn’t.
Nihad is a 63 your old woman from Hizma in East Jerusalem.
“On 14 February 2017, at around 4:00 p.m. my husband and I were sitting in our courtyard, when two Israeli jeeps pulled over and about 10 soldiers in full military gear stepped out. The commander approached us and told us we had to demolish our house, or else they were going to demolish it and make us pay the costs. The soldiers left without giving us any written documents and without clarifying the reason for requesting the demolition.”
“The following day, at around 8:00 a.m. about 10 military jeeps showed up to check on the house and to see whether we had demolished it or not. This time the commander hung a piece of paper at the door with a heading in Arabic saying “house demolition”. The rest of the document was in Hebrew which we don’t understand.”
“The commander explained that the house required a building permit which we did not obtain at the time when we built it about a year ago. My family did not even bother to apply for a permit knowing that the authorities will deny it as they normally do for many residents of East Jerusalem who apply for such permits.”
“Then the commander threatened my husband that if he didn’t demolish the house himself they would demolish it over our heads. I felt drained and was about to lose my mind as the thought of my house being demolished came to my mind. I started to think and worry about where I should go and where to live.”
“About an hour after the soldiers had left, my husband and some relatives moved the furniture outside then started to knock down the brick walls using tools and a jack hammer. We knew there was no other choice. It was extremely hard to knock down the walls but still possible. We decided to demolish our house right away because we knew no matter what we did or even if we appealed in the courts and paid the fines and fees, the demolition was going to take place.”
“I was very sad during the demolition; I worked hard to build my house and now I lost it in the blink of an eye. I feel frustrated and my husband and I have no home anymore.”
“At around 4:00p.m., on 15 February 2017, the soldiers came back again to check on the house; we had only one wall left and the soldiers had come with a bulldozer. The soldiers stayed for about an hour, during which time clashes broke out between them and some men in the neighborhood, but thankfully, no one was hurt.”
“My husband and I have since moved into my son in law’s house which is quite inconvenient for us and him.”