Merijn De Jong, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
Two more families in East-Jerusalem lost their homes today and another two families had their belongings thrown out into the street as a new wave of house demolitions swept through Dahiat Al-Salaam and Silwan.
In Dahiat Al-Salaam in East-Jerusalem, the Hannafiya family’s home was demolished at 9:30 this morning. Eight people were made homeless by the demolition because their house did not have a building permit. The Jerusalem municipality makes it nearly impossible for most Palestinians in East Jerusalem to receive building permits.
As the children of the family gathered their toys from atop the rubble that was once their home, the homeowner spoke of his son who will soon return from the United States to get married: “How do I explain this to him when he gets back, that the house is not there anymore?”
The two Hamdan brothers, who live with their families down the street from the Hannafiya family, had all of their belongings taken from their homes in preparation for demolition. While the family’s attorney, Sami Arshid, was able to stop the demolitions from taking place through a court order, most of the family’s belongings were severely damaged by the workers who removed them from the home. Needless to say, there will be no compensation from the municipality for the damage; and while the demolitions were postponed today, the homes are still at risk for demolition in the future.
The mother of one of the families, whose belongings were thrown into the street, showed us around her home. “Is the world blind?” she asked, as she displayed the now ruined pictures that had been drawn by her son.
After the demolition of the house in Dahiat Al-Salaam, another home was destroyed in Ein Luze, near the El-Bustan area in Silwan. The recently completed home belonged to the Musa Siam family who had yet to move in. When the bulldozers were unable to reach the house, the municipality sent workers to demolish it by hand.