Israel Municipality forces a Jerusalemite to self-demolish his residence in Beit Hanina town

Israel Municipality forces a Jerusalemite to self-demolish his residence in Beit Hanina town


 Citizen Rami Ilwan was forced to self-demolish his residence on September 25, 2016 in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of AL-Ashqaria, following the seld-demolition decision of Israel Municipality Court . The decision was made on the claim that the residence was "unlicensed".

Citizen Rami told Land Research Center the following:

" I built my residence on a plot I own in Al-Ashqriya neighborhood in 2013. The house is two floors and is of 340m2 in area; it is composed of 4 bedrooms, two kitchens and a hall. At time of construction, employees from Israel Municipality arrived at the place and delivered me a stop-work order on the claim of unlicensed construction. I built without a license because the occupation never grants claiming that  the area requires re-planning and organization. Despite the issue, I completed the procedures for a license and moved in to the new house with my 9 member family including 7 children in 2013".

He added:

" I was summoned by the municipality's court where a fine of 100,000 NIS was imposed me on the claim that my structure was built without proper license. Court sessions started in 2013 and ended in 2016 with a self-demolition decision. On October 25, 2016, I hired a dozer and carried out  the demolition to avoid any extra fines the municipality imposes on me in case I failed at implemented the decision"

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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 90cases where the owners had to demolish their property by themselves during the past six years(2010-2016) making 558 civilian citizens, more than half of whom are children, homeless and lacking security and stability.

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