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Israeli forces demolish Jerusalem building, displace thirteen

29th May 2013 | Coalition for Jerusalem | Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

Israeli Forces demolished an apartment building in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, on May 29, 2013, displacing thirteen members of the Al-Salaymeh family.  Badran Al-Salameh attempted previously to obtain a permit for his two-story building, constructed in 2000, but was unsuccessful and subsequently fined a total of over 200,000 NIS for a lack thereof. Two bulldozers arrived at 10:00am on Wednesday morning and began to demolish the building, consisting of four apartments. Two minors were arrested during the demolition and another suffered injuries from exposure to pepper spray.

This demolition is one of nine that have occurred in Jerusalem within the past two weeks, directly displacing a minimum of seventy-seven people. Al-Quds Daily reported on May 28 that an additional 450 Palestinian homes in the occupied city are currently awaiting demolition after receiving orders against them by the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem. According to a 2009 OCHA report, a conservative estimate of 60,000 Jerusalemites are vulnerable to having their homes demolished.

Israel’s escalation of housing demolitions in Jerusalem comes in the midst of an attempt from the international community to re-launch peace negations. US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the region last week, yet his visit went without comment on the demolitions despite being in Jerusalem a mere 48 hours after seven homes had been bulldozed. Such consistent inaction in holding Israel accountable for its rights violations has led the occupying state to escalate its human rights abuses without regard to international consequences.

Home demolitions are just one of many policies Israel imposes in Jerusalem with the intent to forcibly evict the city’s Palestinian population and ensure a Jewish majority. With building permits difficult to obtain and property rates sky-rocketing, those whose homes are seized and demolished are often forced to move outside of the city’s borders, rendering them vulnerable to having their residency IDs revoked and thus losing their right to live within Jerusalem. These policies exist in blatant violation of theFourth Geneva Convention, which explicitly prohibits an occupying power from forcibly transferring an occupied population.

The Jerusalemites Campaign therefore demands that Israel immediately cease all of its policies that serve to alter the demographics of Jerusalem, reverse their effects to the fullest extent possible, and compensate the victims of said policies for the suffering they have endured.  The Jerusalemites Campaign calls upon the international community and all people of conscience to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law through all possible mechanisms, including the adoption of the call for broad boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).

About the Jerusalemites Campaign – The International Campaign to Protect Palestinian Residency in Jerusalem is a global initiative to end residency revocation of Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem. Follow us online on Facebook, Twitter (@jerusalemites), and at Jerusalemites.tumblr.com.