World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli municipal authorities on Tuesday demolished three homes belonging to an Arab family in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) claiming they had been built without permits.
"Bulldozers demolished three homes belonging to me and to my brother Ayman," Afif Castero told Anadolu Agency.
He said that a large Israeli police contingent, accompanied by three bulldozers, had arrived at the site in the early morning and began flattening their homes.
"Winter is coming and I have no place to go, nor does my brother," lamented Ayman. "We're both homeless now."
As if that weren't enough, the family said that Israeli authorities had forced them to pay the demolition costs.
"Israeli officers ordered my brother Saleh to demolish a mud-brick room or pay a fine of 200,000 Israeli shekels (roughly $57,000)," said Afif.
The homes had been built by the Castero family after the Jerusalem Municipality demolished their two-story home in February, also on grounds that they lacked building permits.
Ziad Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, complained that Israel refused to provide Arab Jerusalemites with building licenses.
"And when they build without permits, Israeli authorities slap them with enormous fines or demolish the homes," Hammouri told AA.
"Israel wants to Judaize Al-Quds," he asserted. "They destroy the homes of the city's Arab inhabitants and withdraw their [municipal] identification cards."
The demolition campaign targeting Arab homes in the holy city intensified following the recent reelection of Nir Barkat as Jerusalem mayor.
According to UN resolutions, the West Bank and Al-Quds are considered occupied Palestinian territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.
The self-proclaimed Jewish state later annexed the city, which it now regards as its "eternal" capital.
Palestinians, for their part, want Al-Quds – home to the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site – as capital of their future state.Last Mod: 12 Kasım 2013, 13:43