Home Demolition: A systemic plan of expulsion
A displaced Palestinian family Photo Credit: UNRWA
Earlier this month NPR aired a story by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, titled “Walls Of Palestinian Homes Come Tumbling Down“. It seemed like the usual report on the Zionist Regime evicting Palestinian civilians from their homes and demolishing them on the so-called legal basis that they were built with a permit.
The Case of Sami Idriss
The report started by talking about the case of Sami Idriss, a 26 year old Palestinian, who had poured his savings into build his home, and was planning to get married in three months. While he was away at work, the Zionist Regime sent bulldozers to tear down his house:
“I came back and they were already tearing my house down,” he says. Idriss says he pleaded with the workers, saying he hadn’t received any notice or warning. He says they pushed him out of the building and continued to demolish his home.
The report cited that many of the nearby homes were built without permits as well. Additionally, in 60% of East Jerusalem & West Bank’s Area C (occupied and controlled by the Zionist Regime), there are thousands of Arab homes which already have demolition orders.
Why didn’t he just get a permit?
Regardless of the fact that the occupying authority is an illegal one, and one that isn’t even recognized, as practical matter, if there is a high risk of demolition, wouldn’t it make sense to get the proper paperwork done ahead of starting any building work?
The report cited Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Zionist Regime as saying:
“In any state where there is an urban authority around the world, you can’t just build wherever you like, whenever you like. You need a permit. If, at the end of the road, you don’t follow the necessary legal procedures, then inevitably there will be demolition… What is true is that they may feel less comfortable with the Israeli authorities, in the psychological realm… That may very well be the case and maybe this is why they resort to building without permits.”
Is it as easy as that? Ask, and Ye shall receive?
A deeper look into the matter and one is trouble to find the truth. A report by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) uncovered that, under the Zionist Regime’s zoning policy:
“Palestinians can build in just 13 per cent of East Jerusalem and in just 1 per cent of Area C… Ultimately, the number of permits granted to Palestinians each year falls far below the demand. More than 94 per cent of all Palestinian permit applications have been rejected in recent years.
This means that when a family expands or a community wants to build infrastructure to meet its basic needs, the choice faced is between building without a permit, or not building at all. Many end up building to meet their immediate needs in the hope that they will be able to avoid demolition.”
Why not let them build?
If the Zionist Regime only allows Palestinians to build within “13 per cent of East Jerusalem and in just 1 per cent of Area C”, then why not let them build? Doesn’t the regime allow for the building of new Zionist outposts and settlements and the expansion of exiting ones? These aren’t even considered legal by any international authority. Aren’t those being built with permits?
A Systematic plan to Expel and Displace!!
The NPR article went on to cite an explanation by the head of the Palestinian Jerusalem Center for Socio-Economic Rights, Ziad Hamouri. “What we are facing is a real war. It’s a demographic war against the Palestinians… [The Israelis] want to control east Jerusalem; [the Palestinians] are losing east Jerusalem.”
If you only issue permits to the Zionist settlers, and deny them to the rest, you systematically control who gets to build and where. Gradually and quietly, you drive out the Palestinians, and expand into the vacated areas. All the while, the World, and the US administration specifically, turns a blind eye.