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Tens of thousands of Palestinian homes at risk

Israel claims the 100 apartments, in the Wadi al-Hummus neighbourhood of Sur Baher, East Jerusalem, violates a 2011 military order which forbids construction within a 100-300m buffer zone of the separation wall.

This is the first time Israel has used this military order to demolish Palestinian homes in Area A - zones within the Green Line that are under full Palestinian Authority (PA) control - sparking fears it could give Israel the green light to demolish thousands more under the same pretext.

Palestinian Minister for the Walls and Settlements Waleed Assaf told ISM: “They will use this military order in other places, they will use it here in Sur Baher and this means that tens of thousands of houses along the wall, they will be able to demolish any houses in this area, in Area A.”

He explains that although Israel has demolished homes in Area A as a collective punishment against Palestinians who carry out attacks on Israel this will be the first demolition in the PA controlled area “without any security reason.”

“If they will do this it means that they will be able to demolish in any other place near the wall in Area A,” he added.

Seventeen people will be made homeless if the demolitions go through tomorrow, and a further 350 will face losing their unfinished homes, according to OCHA.

Ismail Obeidi, a 42 year-old-father of six, is one of the families who will lose his home if the demolition takes place.

He wanted to live in East Jerusalem but was unable to build there as Israel rarely gives building permits to Palestinians. This forced him to move out to Wadi Al-Hummus, a neighbourhood with 6,000 residents, which although is on the Israeli side of the wall, is in Area A and under the jurisdiction of the PA.

“I got a permit to build my house in 2004 and have spent 1,200,000 shekels building this house. When this house is demolished I will have nowhere to go. Before I built it, I lived in a one room flat with my wife and children.”

Hamada Hamada, the head of the Wadi al-Hummus Committee said: “We think they [the Israeli government] want this area to be empty so they can expand their settlements here in this area to close the Palestinian lands and separate them from Jerusalem. The aim is just to make it an empty area.

“Most of them are families living in these buildings. They don’t have the money, they don’t have another land to go to, they don’t have the ability to do that. They will live on the destroyed buildings.”

This morning the Jerusalem Electricity Company cut off power to Mr Obeidi’s home and other buildings with demolition orders today on the orders of Israeli forces.
And dozens of Israeli police and officials from the Israeli Civil Administration were seen scouting out the buildings. It’s believed this is a strong indicator that the demolitions will happen tomorrow.

An international presence of ISM activists and Israeli activists will sleep in Wadi al-Hummus this evening in solidarity with the community.


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