From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article by Nasouh Nazzal was published byGulf News on 5 December 2011.
“15 Palestinians homeless after Israeli bulldozers demolish two houses”
By Nasouh Nazzal
Ramallah: The eight-member family of Haroun Burqan ended up homeless after Israeli bulldozers demolished their home in the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan of Occupied East Jerusalem on Monday.
Not even allowed to retrieve furniture
Speaking to Gulf News, Burqan said that the bulldozers escorted by police and border security did not allow him and his neighbours to get even furniture out of the house.
“The demolition of the house started upon the arrival of the bulldozers giving the family no chance to get their furniture out,” he said.
“My grandfather owns the house and it was built even before the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, but the Israelis demolished it under the pretext that it was not licensed by the municipal authorities,” he said.
“How could such a house built at least 40 years before the Israeli control of Occupied East Jerusalem be licensed by the municipal authorities,” he said.
Baby girl, aged two weeks
The 150sq m house accommodates eight members of the Burqans, the youngest of whom is two weeks old baby girl.
“I will not leave it. I will live with my family on the ruins,” he said.
Last week, the occupied West Jerusalem Municipality handed Burqan a demolition order. Burqan appealed against the order.
In early 2009, the Israeli authorities ordered Burqan to pay a fine of 50,000 Shekels which he settled to secure his house.
Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Silwan Defence Committee, told Gulf News that the Burqan family will be provided with a tent.
“The Israeli authorities cannot dispute the ownership of the land and house which Haroun inherited from his grandfather,” he said.
The bulldozers later moved to Beit Hanina, another Arab neighbourhood, where they demolished the chalet of Majdi Salaymah.
Salaymah owns the land and has repeatedly applied for a building licence which the occupied West Jerusalem Municipality has rejected. To make a living for his seven family members, Salaymeh made a chalet.