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Palestinian family forced to demolish own house in Jerusalem, at least 18 displaced

12:00 Sep 23 2014 East Jerusalem (exact location unkown at this time)

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JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family has begun to demolish part of a building it owns in East Jerusalem to avoid paying fines after the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order, the owner said Tuesday.

Walid al-Ubeidi told Ma'an that due to the size of his family, he expanded the building from three to four floors in 2002, and to five floors in 2004-2005.

He tried to obtain building permits from the municipality for both expansions, but to no avail, al-Ubeidi said.

An Israeli court recently ordered the family to demolish the fifth floor and seal the fourth floor by Sept. 25, or else face paying huge fees for the municipality to bulldoze it.

Some 18 people from his extended family will be displaced as a result of the demolition, he added.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although 550,000 Jewish settlers are frequently given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says.
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