Israel Municipality forces a Jerusalemite man to self-demolish his residence in Al-Isawiya village
Israel Municipality in Jerusalem forced on January 16, 2017 citizen Firas Mahmoud to self-demolish his residence founded in Al-Isawiya village as per implementing the municipality's order claiming the house built without a proper license.
Citizen Ahmad Mahmoud told Land Research Center the following: " One year ago, my son Firas built a residence to move in to it with his five member family. The house is a one story structure and is of 120m2 in area. Firas and his family was supposed to move in to the new house within a week. After the house was completed, the muncipality's inspectors arrived at location, photographed the structure and issued a demolition order on it. The order was one of twelve orders issued that day. We sought attorney to stop the demolition operation but all he could do was to delay the operation until January 16, 2017"
He also added: " Three days before the deadline ends, an Israeli police officer called me and ordered me to appear before the police station in the French Hill area. He told me that I better demolish the structure by myself otherwise the municipality implements the operation and bill all cost for the owner. My son firas dismantled the doors and windows of the house on January 16, 2017. Next day, we hired a dozer and brought down the structure. Noteworthy, a police vehicle was present at the area to make sure that the demolition was being implemented properly"
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.]
LRC field observers kept a close eye on the matter and recorded 72 cases where the owners had to demolish their property by themselves during the past five years making 477 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.
The Land Research Center