“The Demographic War over Jerusalem”
Israel Systematic House Demolitions in Jerusalem

“The Demographic War over Jerusalem” <br> Israel Systematic House Demolitions in Jerusalem


When Israeli captured East Jerusalem along with other Arab-Palestinian territories during the 1967 war, it became an obsession of the successive Israeli governments to win the demographic battle over Jerusalem to their favor. Hence, in the decades of Israeli occupation to follow, Israel has systematically planned and practiced all sorts of operations to eradicate the Palestinian existence from the occupied city that might ultimately threaten their quest of Jerusalem as “the eternal, undivided capital of Israel”. Accordingly, Israel employed all within its capabilities to ensure “Jewish dominance” in the city, regardless of the means and methods used to realize their quest; thus they violated repeatedly every aspect of the international law and facilitated the establishment of illegal settlements, demolished thousands of Palestinian houses and crippled the city economy worse than anytime ever before.


Old-New Policy

From day of the Israeli occupation, Israel went after Palestinian rights in the city with a vengeance, as they restricted building permits laws to the Palestinians, squeezed them exhausting property tax, restricted areas of development, re-zoned open space areas to exclude them from expanding the built-up areas. These Israeli procedure falls right within plain discrimination policies practiced by the occupation against the people it occupy in order to force the original inhabitants of the city to voluntarily evacuate the city. Over the decade of this belligerent Israeli occupation, thousands of Palestinian houses were illegally demolished and seized by the Israeli occupation.


On November 21, 2006, “the Committee for the Protection of Silwan Lands and Property”, revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem have launched a campaign to demolish dozens of Palestinian houses in Silwan, Jabal Al Mukabber and Wadi Kaddum neighborhoods.  The pretext used by the Israeli authorities leading this eradicating campaign is the lack of building permits and therefore the owner of the targeted houses must set the record with the concerned authorities, otherwise, their houses will be demolished. For a Palestinian living in east Jerusalem, acquiring a building permit from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem is almost impossible. All Palestinians charged today with illegal construction have tried time and again to apply for building permits and only small percentage of them were lucky to have their permits receive an approval.


The Palestinian owners of the targeted houses have tried repeatedly before they start building the houses to acquire the proper building permits from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem but failed to do so due to the many obstacles set by the department in-charge in the municipality. Some of these obstacles are: – the excessive overcharge for building permits application, the rezoning of the Arab-Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem to make it out of the designated areas set for development, the excessive fines against those who are building. It should be indicated that other Israeli residents do not face similar problems, which makes these deliberate hassles just plain discriminatory procedures against the Israeli Arab-Palestinians living in the occupied territory, specifically in East Jerusalem, where Israeli-Jews do not have to undergo any of the procedures demanded of Palestinians and non- of the policies and regulations set by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem apply to the Israeli-Jews living in East Jerusalem or as they are identified by the international the illegal residents of the Israeli occupation. The most infamous manipulated and discriminatory case of recent time is the Bethlehem forest of Jabal Abu Ghanim; the one that the Israeli call today, the Har Homa settlement. The forest area was included within Jerusalem boundaries in the illegal and unilateral definition of Jerusalem boundary by Israeli following the 1967 war. The forest was classified by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem as nature reserve area and remained accordingly until 1997 when the forest were uprooted and turned into an Israeli settlement for Jews only, breaking every item of the Israeli founded policies and regulations set for housing code in Jerusalem. See Image




Furthermore, it should be noted that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has declared a plan holding # ع-م-9  to demolish 100 Palestinian houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem in order to build a public park.  to demolish 100 Palestinian houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem in order to build a public park.


To Conclude

It become clear that the Israeli occupation insist on  applying its racist policies and to continue targeting the Palestinians in the occupied city of Jerusalem; imposing restrictions and regulations that prohibited expansion and development of the Palestinian communities in the city, and supporting the extensive expansion of the Israeli settlements. Moreover, the Israeli occupation adopts strategies to continue its policy to expropriate Palestinian lands, hinder the development of Palestinian neighborhoods through the application of harsh building laws and regulations,  imposing limitations on floor area ratio, zoning and rezoning Palestinian area in East Jerusalem according to plans concerning developing illegal Israeli-Jewish neighborhoods. Today, East Jerusalem neighborhoods stand in total separation of each other and from the rest of the West Bank, surrounded by the Apartheid Segregation Wall, and deprived from economic and urban development, lacks the essential infrastructure and suffers from environmental problems.


These Israeli acts are imposing facts on the ground, are undermining the status of East Jerusalem to be the Capital for the future Palestinian state and are undermining the prospects for peace in the region.


According to article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement Israelis forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The article provides “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”.


Also according to the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel is prohibited to demolish the Palestinian houses according to the Article 53 of the Convention which provides that: 'Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.


And the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)


Article 5 provides that: 'States' Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing'.




* located south of Al-Aqsa Mosque



Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Demolition