Palestinian forced to demolish home in Jerusalem's Silwan

Palestinian man forced to demolish own home in Jerusalem's Silwan
2 min read
04 September, 2021
Silwan resident Ayman Abu Wahdan said the Israeli Jerusalem municipality issued a demolition order for his home and was forced to comply, or pay extortionate fees for them to demolish his house for him.
Silwan is under threat by Israeli authorities [Getty]

A Palestinian man from the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan was forced by occupying Israeli forces to demolish his own home on Sunday.

Ayman Abu Wahdan said Israel's Jerusalem municipality issued a demolition order for his home under the pretext it was built without a permit, according to Palestinian Authority's news agency Wafa.

He had no choice but to demolish the 50-square-metre home to avoid paying extortionate demolition fees to the Israeli municipality, he added.

Dozens of homes are under threat of demolition in Silwan with a plan of turning the neighbourhood into a biblical park.

Claiming that Palestinian buildings there are "illegally constructed", Israel regularly demolishes Palestinian homes while expanding Israeli settler units in East Jerusalem, considered illegal under international law.

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It is common for Israeli forces to demolish buildings under the pretext of not having a permit and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees, which amounts to tens of thousands of dollars.

Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

Almost 75 percent of applications for a permit by the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem are rejected by the municipality, according to rights groups.

Israel's forced expulsions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem sparked international protests earlier this year as attention focused on the attempted expulsion of residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

The #SaveSilwan hashtag has been trending on a number of major social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram after residents urged international solidarity to pressure Israel to halt the demolitions.