Jerusalem Municipality demolishes building with two apts. and small businesses in al-‘Esawiyah
This morning, 1 May 2018, at 6:00 A.M., Jerusalem Municipality employees came with some 40 Border Police officers to the Palestinian neighborhood of al-‘Esawiyah in East Jerusalem and, using three bulldozers, demolished a three-story building occupying a 600 square-meter area. The building had two apartments, one of them inhabited, and a laundromat, restaurant and storage space. The demolition left a six-person family, including one minor, homeless and other residents without a source of income.
When they arrived in the morning, the Border Police officers entered the family’s apartment and removed the occupants and their possessions. At 8:30 A.M., when the municipality workers began demolishing the building, clashes developed during which Palestinian residents threw stones at the officers, who responded by shooting rubber-coated metal bullets. Al-Jazeera cameraman Wael a-Salaymeh sustained an injury to the thigh from one of the bullets.
Three years ago, the municipality issued a demolition order for the building, which was constructed six years ago without a permit. Seven months ago, the Municipal Court imposed a 250,000 shekel (~70,000 USD) fine on the building’s occupants, of which 15,000 (~4,200) have been paid to date. The Jerusalem Municipality deliberately avoids preparing detailed urban building plans (UBPs), which are the only avenue for obtaining building permits, for the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The result is a severe shortage of homes, public buildings, infrastructure and leisure and commercial facilities. This has left the residents no choice but to build without permits and risk demolition.