Israeli bulldozers Tuesday morning demolished a car showroom and two mobile stores during a raid into Sur Baher village, southeast of Jerusalem, said a Silwan-based watchdog center.
Escorting a bulldozer, Israeli troops and so-called Jerusalem Municipality crews stormed Sur Baher, cordoning off a local car showroom before demolishing it.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a Silwan-based watchdog that documents demolitions, said locals were taken aback at finding a placard (sign) reading: “Access Denied: Trespassers are liable to penalty” placed at a plot of land, where the demolished car showroom was located.
The center added municipal crews placed the placard, citing that the land plot belongs to Israeli Land Authority as a pretext.
Muhmmad Elayyan, owner of the car showroom, said the forces and municipal crews stormed the car showroom around 4:00 a.m. o’clock without any prior notice before they seized some contents, demolished the room and leveled the land.
He explained crews demolished his wooden 600-meter-square showroom and 30-meter-square bus body which served as a facility room and didn’t require any building license.
He noted that he and his six-member family depended on this showroom for their livelihood for a year and a half and that he had been denied a building license although he applied for it.
Municipal crews seized a car and an air-conditioning system before proceeding with the demolition.
Besides, Israeli bulldozers demolished two mobile stores (carvans) belonging to the Atrash family in the village.
Despite filing applications, Palestinians in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem and Area C, are rarely granted construction permits by Israeli authorities. As a result, they are forced to embark on construction without obtaining rarely-granted permits.
Israel frequently utilizes the lack of construction permits as a pretext for demolishing Palestinian houses.
Many humanitarian and legal bodies have maintained that Israel have been adopting planning policies discriminatory against Palestinians in West Bank Area C and East Jerusalem, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.
“As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,” OCHA reports.
Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.
They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.