Jerusalem clashes as Palestinian homes demolished

Demolition teams from the Jerusalem municipality on Feb. 5 destroyed three Palestinian homes and forced a man to demolish his own home in East Jerusalem, leaving 28 homeless. Clashes erupted in one neighborhood following the demolitions, injuring 15 and leading to seven detentions, according to eyewitnesses. The first demolition was in the Beit Hanina neighborhood north of the Old City. Demolition teams, residents said, arrived at 4:30 AM at Wadi al-Dam in Beit Hanina and stormed the home of Muhammad Sanduqa. They then forced the family out and evacuated furniture before bulldozers pulled the house down. Alaa Sanduqa told Ma'an News Agency that his family house was built 17 years ago. The house, he said, measured 65 square meters and housed seven people. He highlighted that his family had paid a fine of 1,000 shekels ($280) for building without a license.

A second demolition raid was carried out in Sur Bahir village south of the Old City. Mujahid Abu Sarhan told Ma'an that he was awakened by the "noise of Israeli soldiers smashing my windows with rifle butts." He added: "The Israeli forces arrived without prior notice and they assaulted me in front of my baby girl. My house was built in 2008 and since then I have been trying to obtain a construction license." He says that he paid a fine of 13,000 shekels ($3700) for building without a license.

A third demolition was reported in Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood. Eyewitnesses said municipality demolition teams forcibly evacuated the families of Nasser Ramadan Shqeirat and his brother Hussein. While the teams evacuated furniture, Israeli forces assaulted women and young people who tried to prevent the evacuation. They sprayed pepper spray at the residents.

Clashes broke out in Jabal al-Mukkabir after the demolitions, which left 15 injured with various bruises and cuts. Fatah secretary in Jabal al-Mukkabir, Iyad Bashir, was among the injured. Israeli forces also detained seven young Palestinians and released them hours later. Ramadan Naser Shuqeirat, Oday Naser Shuqeirat, and Ramadan Shtewi Shuqeirat were identified among the detainees.

Khalid Mahmoud Bashir said Israeli forces raided his house in Jabal al-Mukkabir without prior notice, evicted his family and assaulted them with batons and tear gas. Bashir said he, and his eight family members including a disabled daughter, have been living in the 85-square-meter house for five years. He explained that the Jerusalem municipality imposed a fine of 85 thousand shekels on him eight months ago, and he pays the monthly installments for it. He added that he managed to get a court order to suspend the demolition, but that was "ignored by the occupation bulldozers."

Maher Mashahra, meanwhile, was forced to demolish his house in al-Sala area in Jabal al-Mukkabir. He said that Israeli forces arrived at his house and told him that he had four hours to demolish the house, or else they would demolish it and force him to pay 45,000 shekels ($12,700) in demolition fees. He said he had to rent a bulldozer to demolish the house, as Israeli police surrounded the area, and he was forced to pay $10,000 for the cost of police forces who surrounded the area. Mashahra had been living in the house for three years with his wife and three-month old daughter.

An Israeli police spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.

From Ma'an News Agency, Feb. 5.


  1. Israel approves 550 East Jerusalem settler homes

    Israel's city council on Feb. 5 issued a statement listing "building permits that were approved" during a local planning committee session, it said permits were granted to private contractors to build 386 units in Har Homa, 136 units in Neve Yaakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev. (AFP)

  2. Israeli forces uproot 300 olive trees

    Israeli troops on Feb. 6 accompanied bulldozers to the west Bethlehem village of Wadi Fukin where bulldozers destroyed 300 newly planted olive trees, despite locals' attempts to stop them. Head of Wadi Fukin local council Ahmad Sukkar told Ma'an that 50,000 square meters of land were leveled and ancient dry stone walls were demolished by the Israeli forces. Clashes broke out between Israel forces and locals as they tried to defend their lands while bulldozers leveled the fields. (Ma'an)

    That same day, a young Palestinian man was injured with live ammunition and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes with Israeli forces in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron. (Ma'an)

  3. Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank

    Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Feb. 7 as protesters clashed with Israeli military forces in villages across the West Bank. Friday demonstrations against the Israeli occupation took place in Kafr Qaddum, Beit Ummar, al-Jalazun, and Silwad. Israeli forces responded with force injuring more than 30 protesters with live and rubber-coated steel bullets as well as dozens more with excessive firing of tear gas. Five Israeli soldiers were also reported injured in the clashes after being struck by rocks. (Ma'an)

    The day before, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked highways across Israel to protest moves to begin drafting them into the army, clashing with police who fired stun grenades. The protests came days after a Supreme Court ruling ordered funding halted to ultra-Orthodox seminaries whose students are exempted from the draft. (Al Jazeera)

  4. Israel: Knesset approves conscription law reform

    The Israeli Knesset on March 12 approved a bill that would draft previously exempt individuals, including ultra-Orthodox men, into the military. Security Service Bill (amendment No. 19), 2014, also known as the Enlistment Bill and the Equal Service Bill, was approved in its third reading by a vote of 65-1, with opposition parties boycotting the vote. The legislation requires that ultra-Orthodox Jews either join the army or perform civilian service and includes imprisonment for those attempting to evade conscription. The new law will take effect in 2017.

    The Israeli Cabinet approved the bill in July. Israel's military service law demands all Israeli citizens be drafted at age 18, but ultra-Orthodox men studying in seminaries, religious women and Arab citizens had been exempted from military service since Israel's founding. The country's new government that took office last March is the first one in almost 20 years without any ultra-Orthodox parties.

    From Jurist, March 12. Used with permission.

  5. Israeli forces open fire on Beit Ummar protesters

    Five Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces opened fire with live and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in Beit Ummar north of Hebron on March 12. (Maan) One day earlier, thousands turned out for the funeral of 18-year-old Saji Darwish in the central West Bank cities of Birzeit and Beitin. Israeli soldiers shot and killed 18-year-old Saji Darwish near the illegal settlement outpost of Givat Assaf late on March 10, after he allegedly threw stones at vehicles belonging to Israeli settlers in the area. (Maan, March 11)

  6. White House warns Israel on East Jerusalem

    The White House warned Israel Oct. 1 that plans for a controversial new housing project in East Jerusalem would distance Israel from "even its closest allies." The criticism came just hours after Obama's White House meeting with Netanyahu. Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the president privately raised his concerns with Netanyahu, though the two leaders made no mention of the matter in their public comments to reporters. "This development will only draw condemnation from the international community," Earnest said. "It also would call into question Israel's ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians." (AP)