23 Palestinian houses demolished in Jerusalem Governorate during the month of January – 2007

23 Palestinian houses demolished in Jerusalem Governorate during the month of January – 2007

(Photo 1: Mt. of Olives-Jerusalem: the ruins of the demolished house of
Mrs. Malook Kazem Abdullah, a mother of 11) – Photo courtesy of LRC



Another year is upon us and Jerusalem under occupation is being the target of the most intense Judaization campaign that aims at creating new facts on the ground. Despite the fact that Palestinian Jerusalemites are steadfast in front of this campaign, yet the transfer plans, the Israeli intent to erase the Arab identity and character of the occupied city, demolishing the social and economical fabric to which the Israeli government have budgeted enormous resources (more than NIS 50 billion) are issues that are beyond the ability of Palestinian Jerusalemites to face off to.


The recent events near the Moroccan Gate Of Al Haram Al Sharif are only the beginning of the phase of programmed demolition of Al Aqsa Mosque and the building of the Jewish Temple in light of the despicable Arab and international silence. Such silence is, in fact, encouraging Israeli occupation forces to continue with its plans in the Holy City.


The International Community and the United Nations have a huge legal responsibility towards Jerusalem in its capacity as an occupied city. As such, International Llw obliges the Occupying Power to keep the status quo and not to make any changes to its current character. The International Community should also bear its responsibility in subjugating Israeli occupation authorities to the articles of International Law especially the Hague and Geneva Accords calling for the support of the Palestinian People, something Israel is continuing to refuse to adhere to.


This study reports on the recent Israeli violations in regards to house demolition in the Occupied City of Jerusalem during the month of January 2007. 


House Demolition

The municipality of occupied Jerusalem started the new year with a series of crimes through which it forced Palestinians out of their homes before demolishing it atop its contents in a manner that was indicative of racial animosity, hatred and insistence on turning the city into a purely Jewish city.  


Accompanied with the house demolition campaign was a series of psychological warfare designed to prevent Palestinian Jerusalemites from practicing their fundamental right of appropriate housing for themselves and their families that provides them with the needed shelter, privacy, safety and dignity. The tools of this warfare (which was published on the net and in the newspapers) consisted of threats and doomsday scenarios if the Palestinian Jerusalemite violated the rules and regulations of the Municipality which makes getting a building permit in Jerusalem 'a procedural impossibility' according to an Israeli court judge.


An example of such warfare was an ad titled 'Announcement and Warning' published in the first week of January 2007 by the Municipality of occupied Jerusalem in Al Quds newspaper. In it, the Municipality threatened with a series of retributions and penalties against Palestinians who violate the building codes of the Municipality. Such penalties include aerial photography and the confiscation of building tools such as tractors, cement carriers and mixers, electrical generators in addition to the demolishing of the building (houses and otherwise). The ad/warning was signed by, Yousi Hayalo, the legal counselor of the Municipality, and Osnat Foset, the Municipality engineer.


An earlier warning was published in September 2006 on the Municipality's website under the title 'Announcement and Warning to All Construction Engineers and Planners' in which the Municipality declared that it will (in case of illegal building): 'Court cases will be submitted against permit's owner, the planner, supervision manager, executive manager and the contractor carrying out the building process'.


Moreover, the Israeli weekly newspaper 'Urshaliem' published another warning in its edition of the last week of July 2006 in which it stated: ' The Jerusalem Municipality will carryout never known-before steps to stop building violations in the Old City of Jerusalem. Building inspectors from the Municipality's Licensing and Monitoring Department will be accompanied by the Israeli Police at the entrance gates of the Old City to stop the entry of building materials in. As such, all vehicles carrying building materials into the Old City will be stopped, searched and its destination known'.     


Such steps were taken to stop Palestinians from renovating Al Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sculpture as well as building any bathroom, kitchen or renovating any Palestinian house inside the Old City. Equipment and building materials are confiscated and the Palestinian(s) transporting them will be arrested and fined. On the other hand, if the materials are destined to the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) or the Jewish settlements in Aqabat Al Khalidiay, Aqabat Al Mufti, Harat Al Sa'adiya among other settlement locations in the Old City, then building materials are guaranteed free access without any hindrances.


Another form of the psychological warfare is the tendency of the Municipality to publish the picture and the details of finished apartment complexes and buildings as to warn the citizens from buying or renting there under the pretext that it is 'illegal.'


The field workers of Land Research Center have documented the following house demolitions in Jerusalem during January 2007:

  • The eviction and the demolition of the house of Mrs. Malook Kazem Abdullah in Khliiat Al Ein location in Al Tur ( Mt. Olives) on January 15th, 2007. The family consisted of 12 individuals. Malook, the housewife, indicated the following: ' I was in the house when one of my neighbors called me up to ask about the reason behind the presence of a large number of Border Police, Israeli Police and bulldozers around the house. I opened the door to see what was happening only to be surprised by an attack by armed men with their police dogs. They dragged me out of the house for a distance of a few meters. Then a female soldiers accompanied by a police dog went into my daughter's room and dragged her out of the house by her shoulder. All other family members were treated in a similar way. They removed us from the house and then began to demolish it atop its content. Even our IDs and house licensing plans were left there. Bulldozers smashed part of the furniture that we managed to get out as well as a barrack where my sons used to work and 30 trees that were uprooted'.  

  • On January 16th, 2007, the Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers demolished the house of the Mr. Basem Siyam and his 5-member family in Al Abbasiya location in Al Thury neighborhood south of the old city under the pretext that part of the house was located on a terminated street.

  • On January 16th, 2007, the Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers demolished the 135-m2 house of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Al Abbasi in Al Sweih Neighborhood in Silwan without any prior warning. Mr. Mahmoud said the following in describing the demolition process: ' The soldiers behaved terribly with the residents of the neighborhood. I wasn't in the place at the time of the demolition. I knew about the soldiers heading there, so I rushed back and asked the Police Officer and the representative of the Municipality to show me the demolition order. They said 'we'll show you' after which they handcuffed and transported me to the nearby police station until the demolition was completed. They even demolished the lower section of the house which was not included in the demolition order. The soldiers even beat a number of my relatives and people from the neighborhood and detained a number of them at the police station until the demolition was done at 7:00 PM'.

  • The demolition of a 4-story building in Sur Baher while attacking its owners. On the 22nd of January, 2007, bulldozers owned by the Municipality of occupied Jerusalem accompanied by Israeli security personnel demolished a 4-story building that contained 8 housing units belonged to the sons of Mr. Mohammad Hammad Al A'amas at 10:30 AM in Sur Baher. When the son, Mahmoud, heard about the news of the demolition he rushed to the house where he was beaten by the Police who prevented him from reaching his house. He was also detained in the police jeep along with his brother-in-law. They were later transferred to Al Mukabber Police Station where they stayed until the demolition was over with at 5:00 PM. The building was demolished under the pretext that it was built without a proper permit.

(Photo 2: Sur Baher- Jerusalem: a child from Al A'amas family
amid ruins of his family house) – Photo courtesy of LRC

Photo courtesy of LRC

  • For the second time, the Municipality of occupied Jerusalem demolished in Jerusalem on January 23rd, 2007 the house of Mr. Jamal Al Taweel in Al Sawahra Al Sharqiya which was built three years ago to shelter his 9-member family. The Municipality had demolished a house for the same family in 1999 in the region of Shi'ab Al Inab, east of Silwan. 

  • The Municipality of occupied Jerusalem demolished on the 23rd of January, 2007 the house of Mr. Amer Abu Diab which he built three years ago in Al Sawahra Al Sharqiya to shelter his 8-member family. The Municipality demolished his house along with the house of Mr. Al Taweel (see above) on the same day despite the fact that both of them did not use cement in making the ceiling of their homes as not to give any excuse for the Israeli authorities to demolish them.

  • Without any prior notice, the Israeli Military Governor ordered the demolition of the house of Mr. Majed Issa Barakat in Nabi Samueil northwest of Jerusalem on the 23rd of January, 2007. The 40-m2 house consisted of two rooms one of which was built 20 years ago by the father while the second one was built by the son to accommodate him and his 3-members family. The Military Governor has demolished the houses of Al Barakat family many times. He also made it so that most of the lands of the village was confiscated due to its strategic location. All houses on the confiscated lands were also demolished.  

  • The Municipality of occupied Jerusalem demolished on the 28th of January, 2007 the house of the Abu Zahiriya family while it was under construction in the Houd Al Tabel region of Beit Hanina.

  •  On January 30th, 2007 the Municipality of occupied Jerusalem committed a massacre against Palestinian housing rights in the city as it demolished, for the second time, the house of Mr. Ghadeer Abu Ghalia after he paid NIS 40,000 fine in an attempt to postpone its demolition on the hope that he would be able to annul the demolition order. Yet, the Municipality demolished around 70 m2 on December 15th, 2006.  Mr. Abu Ghalia managed to get a 'stop demolition' order for the rest of the house as he was given until January 15th, 2007 to get a building license. On that day, the Israeli bulldozers headed, yet again, to demolish what remained from the house. Mr. Abu Ghalia. He paid another fine of NIS 60,000 on the hope that he could save what was left of the home that houses him and his family. Despite all the money he had paid the house was demolished on the 30th of January, 2007.

  •  Israeli occupation forces demolished on January 30th, 2007 the houses of Mr. Mohammad Ahmad Al Hirsh and his son's Ahmad. The total surface area of the demolished houses was 300 m2 and it used to shelter 26 individuals. The houses were demolished atop most of its furniture after Israeli soldiers attacked and humiliated the residents of both houses when they tried to defend their place of residence. Mr. Al Hirsh said that the demolition was carried out to make way for the Israeli construction of the Segregation Racist Wall.

(Photo 3: Nabi Samuel- Jerusalem: in the foreground is a demolished Palestinian
house, in the background is an emerging Jewish colony) –
Photo courtesy of LRC

  • Also on January 30th, 2007, Israeli occupation forces demolished the houses of Na'eem and Khalil Qatmira in Ras Al Ayazra. The soldiers also demolished a storage room and a wall.

  • Again on January 30th, 2007, Israeli Army bulldozers demolished a house under construction that belonged to Mr. Nayef Al Shweiki in the area of Hodd Al Tabel in Beit Hanina. See Map 1


The following table summarizes the number of demolished houses

In Jerusalem during January, 2007 per location.



No. of Demolished Houses

Atur, Al Ze'ayyem


Al Thuri




Wad Qadoom


Sur Baher


Al Sawahra Al Sharqiya


Al Izzariya


Beit Hanina


Nabi Samuel




Source: LRC Monthly Reports Database – 2007


Heavy Fines

The Municipality of occupied Jerusalem is carrying out demolitions under heavy protection from the security echelon as to induce fear in the hearts and minds of Palestinian Jerusalemites. The residents are being forced to demolish their homes by themselves. Otherwise, they would be fined at least NIS 30,000 to be paid within hours to the Municipality court in return for demolition postponement for few days, if not hours. This short period of time provides a chance to go back to the court or the Municipality once again on hope of annulling the demolition, which happens only rarely.


Such fines are not the only type. Another type is called 'building violation fines' and are very expensive and can reach up to hundreds of thousands of shekels. The demolition usually comes after exhausting the Palestinian Jerusalemite's financial abilities after forcing him to pay fines once or twice. For example, the Municipality forced Al Razem family in Wadi Qadoom on January 21st, 2007, to demolish their two-story house still under construction. The family has carried out the demolition out of fear that the Municipality, if let to carryout the demolition, would demolish also the ground floor of the house which was not included in the demolition order. Other families throughout Jerusalem were also forced to demolish their own houses out of fear that the Municipality would demolish them and charge the families big fines in addition to months of imprisonment. Such families include the following:

1.     The family of Ali Abu Sneina which was fined NIS 50,000

2.     Abu Ghalia family which paid NIS 40,000, yet the house was demolished any way later in the month.

3.     Karshan and Al Sa'eiree families from Al Tur (Mt.Olives).

4.     The family of Khaled Al Basha from Al Izzariya ( Bethany).





Prepared by
The Land Research Center

Categories: Demolition