The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Jerusalem
Dozens of Israeli police directed by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem invaded al-Eesawiyya village in East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning to demolish a three-story apartment building. The building housed 17 people and was owned by Jamal Elayyan.
Prior to the demolition, Israeli forces surrounded the building from all sides, took off doors, and ordered the residents to leave their homes. Families tried to quickly take as much of their furniture and belongings as they could carry, but Israeli officers did not allow them enough time to retrieve everything. An elderly woman fainted during the process.
The building was built five years ago. Four families lived on the two top floors in 200 square meter apartments. The first floor included a restaurant and a clothing shop.
Palestinians attempted to resist the militarized demolition. Israeli police responded by shooting tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets in crowded residential areas. Photographer for Al-Jazeera Wael Salyma was wounded, while other residents were beaten and arrested.
After the demolition, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports that locals planted a Palestinian flag in the rubble and started raising funds to help the many people who lost their homes.
According to Elayyan, the demolition was completely unexpected. Though Israeli authorities have claimed for three years that the building lacked Israeli construction permits, Elayyan was paying off a 250 thousand-shekel fine in monthly installments with the belief that doing so would lead to licensure.
Mohammed Abu Hommos, member of the al-Eesawiyya Follow-Up Committee, stresses that the Israeli municipality consistently ignores Palestinian requests to resolve construction licensing issues. Abu Hommos explains there are many other buildings in the village suffering from similar problems and the families who live in them experience stress from the constant threat of sudden homelessness. He adds that it is clear Israeli forces want Palestinians to leave al-Eesawiyya and Jerusalem, especially in light of the fact that while Israeli authorities have such difficulty approving residential buildings for Palestinians, settlement construction is booming.