Israel Municipality orders a Jerusalemite to self-demolish his residence in the Silwan neighborhood of Al-Thawri

Israel Municipality orders a Jerusalemite to self-demolish his residence in the Silwan neighborhood of Al-Thawri


Municipality in Jerusalem  forced on July 25, 2016 citizen Waleed Shweiki  to self-demolish his residence in the Silwan neighborhood of AL-Thwari on the claim of unlicensed construction.

Citizen Shweiki told Land Research Center the following: " I used to live in my family house located in Al-Thawri neighborhood but when I decided to get married in 2014, I built a separate residence in the yard of the family house. The house that is composed of a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom cost me around 70,000 NIS.

At time of construction, employees from the municipality arrived at the location and threw a stop-work order in the yard of the house. Despite that, I continued construction, lived in the house and got my first son in there".

He also added: " On May 2016, employees from the municipality arrived at the location and delivered me a dismantling order on the structure, claiming it unlicensed. I hired an attorney to prevent demolition but all efforts invested did not manage to obtain a halt on the order or even a delay . So, I decided to self-demolish the residence before the municipality does. If implemented by the municipality,  I will be fined around 50,000 NIS and demolition expenses will be billed to me. On July 2016, I evacuated the interior of my house and dismantled it as per implementing the municipality's order.

Now I am back to live in my mother's house. My wife lives in her family house with my daughter. We ,now, live separated and I cannot rent a house in Jerusalem due to the high prices"


Photo 1: the demolition order on Shweiki residence


Photo 2: citizen Shweiki at time of self-demolishing his house

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Photos 3-4: the house at time of self-demolition



Self-Demolition is a Crime against Humanity:

Definition: When an owner of a structure is forced to demolish his property by himself, it is called 'self demolition' or 'silent demolition'. It used to be carried out in quiet or in silence as the name suggests. But recently, due to their increased number of cases, victims have come to disclose that such type of demolition exists and that it is their only choice and speak out about the inhumanity of the Israeli occupation for forcing such a practice.

This kind of demolition is mainly imposed on Palestinians in Jerusalem in efforts to displace them and Judaize the city.

The Israeli occupation always justifies that type of demolition, which is a blatant contravention of the right to residence and a crime against humanity, on the pretext of unlicensed construction.

[If your house has been built without a building permit, then it is legal and you have to destroy it and remove the wreckage as soon as possible. You also have to take pictures of the destroyed structure and send them to the Inspection Department of the Planning and Construction Committee in the occupying municipality to verify the act. There is a fixed date regarding when you have to carry out the demolition operation and this is a red line you cannot cross. There is a second date set by the municipality court of local affairs to check if you have abided by the demolition order or not. In case you do not comply, the municipality will demolish your residence at your expense. If you cannot pay, you will be jailed, so the lesser of two evils becomes the self-demolition choice.]

Land Research Center  field observers kept a close eye on the matter and recorded 85 cases where the owners had to demolish their property by themselves during the past six years(2010-2016) making 529 civilian citizens, more than half of whom are children, homeless and lacking security and stability.


The graph illustrates the  number of self-demolished houses between 2010-2016


Negative effects of self demolition on families: 

The self or silent demolition causes great pain and feelings of oppression. When the Israeli occupation carries out a demolition operation, the family gets more united in the face of injustice, especially children who become aware of the reality of the occupation. But when the father carries out the demolition, children become confused and view their caretaker as weak and helpless. This may lead to fragmentations, clashes and instability within the family, and children might suffer psychologically and lose trust in the family, society and future. Let alone the loss of money and efforts on the part of the breadwinner and the family.

Objectives of imposing self- demolition on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation:

  • To kick out Palestinians from the occupied city of Jerusalem so Jews become a majority;
  • portray Palestinians as self-destructive, demolishing their residences by themselves in a gesture of admitting their wrongdoing;
  • exonerate the Israeli occupation from accusations of eviction and demolition;
  • spare the Israeli occupation from complications, confrontations and embarrassments during demolition;
  • generate money (by fining people thousands of shekels);
  • conceal the true number of demolition cases;
  • make negative psychological effects on Palestinian families;
  • Get rid of the infamous stereotype known for centuries about the Jews that they destroy their own houses by themselves.


Prepared by
 The Land Research Center

Categories: Demolition