Demolition of houses prevents residents of Jalaboun, east of Jenin, from urban expansion

Demolition of houses prevents residents of Jalaboun, east of Jenin, from urban expansion

Young Khaled Abu al-Rub stands silent, staring with his eyes, the dream of his life and the fatigue of his life collapses in one moment after Israeli vehicles demolished his two-storey house in the village of  Jalboun  , east of Jenin, last week .

Khaled Abu Al-Rub (28 years old) remained standing in front of the scene of the demolition of the two-storey house, with an area of ​​450 square meters, as if he was repeating the tape of his hard years in the process of building the house to house him and his wife, as their marriage had not passed for about two weeks.

The Israeli occupation  authorities notified  Khaled Abu al-Rub of the demolition of his house about four months ago, once on the grounds that the building is located in Area C, which is under Israeli control, and at other times on the pretext that it is close to the wall built on village lands in 2002.

Khaled Abu al-Rub, standing on the ruins of his destroyed house, despite having documents of ownership of the land, says that the Israeli authorities waited for many months from the completion of the construction and finishing phase and paid high costs estimated at about $150,000 to notify me of the house demolition.

He adds that the Israeli occupation authorities were seeing every stage and step of the house building process, and they could have informed me of that from the beginning, "but they wanted to kill my dream and my ambition to live in front of my eyes. "

Khaled Abu Al-Rub had initiated legal procedures to prevent the demolition, noting that one of the lawyers entrusted with his case informed him that he would obtain a decision to do so, but the mechanisms preempted that step by demolishing the house, which had been flattened and became a pile of stones last Wednesday morning.

For many hours, the twenty-year-old refused to talk or photograph with the crowd of fans who arrived to cover the event, as he "cannot comprehend what happened and that long months of building and fatigue have become a thing of the past. "

According to a report issued by the Palestine Liberation Organization´s Committee against the Wall and Settlement last week, Israel demolished 43 buildings and commercial establishments in the West Bank and East Jerusalem last October under the pretext of building without a permit.

The Palestinians complain of the difficulty of obtaining building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, due to what they describe as “impossible” conditions set by Israel.

Usually, the Israeli authorities justify the demolition or confiscation of Palestinian buildings as being carried out without obtaining the necessary permit, while the Palestinians say that this is done in the interest of settlement expansion.

In the vicinity of Khaled Abu al-Rub´s house, Israeli vehicles demolished an inhabited 120-square-meter house belonging to the Palestinian Amir Abu Seif, under the pretext of building without a permit.

Amir Abu Seif, who was at work painting and finishing  the house, was surprised last Wednesday morning by a call from an Israeli officer telling him that vehicles were coming to demolish his house.

Amir Abu Seif said, while showing signs of sadness and anger, that he had to leave his work and return home in a hurry to wake his wife and child from sleep and take out the furniture and belongings after giving him a period of only 10 minutes .

Amir Abu Seif has lived in his house for about 6 years and lived in it without receiving a notification or handing over a construction ban and the occupation authorities left him until he settled inside to come and implement the demolition process suddenly.

He says that the occupation authorities monitor every little thing near the wall around the village, and were watching the process of building the house step by step.

The Israeli authorities notified seven houses in the village under the pretext that they were located in Area C, but the residents assert that the main reason behind the demolitions is the wall built on their land.

The residents fear that they will be restricted after this demolition and stifle the natural growth in the village, knowing that it is surrounded by three settlements on three sides with the exception of the western side, and this increases the burden on the citizens in the construction and expansion processes.

And Israel had previously built the wall on the lands of the village´s residents, who number about 3000, which means the confiscation of about 1500 dunams (a dunam is equivalent to 1,000 square meters) of its lands, and it was erected only tens of meters from the homes of some citizens.

The West Bank and towns in East Jerusalem are divided according to the Oslo Interim Peace Agreement signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, into three areas, the first (A) and under full Palestinian control, the second (B) under Israeli security and Palestinian administrative control, and the third (C). It is under Israeli security and administrative control.

Ibrahim Abu al-Rub, head of the village´s village council, says that the Israeli authorities have notified 7 houses to stop construction in addition to the demolitions that took place, while Israel refuses to grant licenses to these houses.

He added that the residents of the houses obtain license papers from the municipality, but Israel does not take them, pointing out that the Palestinian citizen needs to open a file with the Israeli side at the military liaison headquarters west of Jenin.

He continues that as soon as the citizen opens the file, a demolition decision is issued by the occupation authorities, meaning that they are notified of the demolition of his house under the pretext of building without a permit, and they deliberately prevent the issuance of such permits.

Ibrahim Abu al-Rub indicates that there is a state of anxiety and fear among the villagers about building on their lands for fear of being demolished by the Israeli authorities.

Until the middle of this year, the occupation authorities demolished a total of 300 buildings in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a permit, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories.

A report issued by the office last June stressed the difficulty of obtaining such permits for Palestinians followed due to the restrictive policy by the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and Area C, in which Israel controls construction.

The report said that the Israeli authorities are working to dedicate the land and space available for construction in Jerusalem and Area C in favor of settlement expansion, which is contrary to international law, describing the situation in the West Bank as "difficult and Palestinian families and communities face a coercive environment."