Palestinian man demolishes own house to avoid government fines

12:00 Dec 5 2011 Althury neighborhood, Silwan, Jerusalem

Silwan resident Osama al-Shweiki of Althury neighborhood demolished his own home on 5 December. Shweiki demolished the 96 square meter house, which he built himself in 2005, to avoid being charged heavy fines by the Jerusalem Municipality for demolition.

Shweiki built the house after becoming fed up with the cost of renting. The house was raided by the Municipality after being built, and Shweiki was ordered to pay Municipality fines for the so called “ illegal construction” over six years to an estimated total of 96,000 NIS. Despite this, the Israeli courts ultimately ruled that the house was illegal and must be demolished.

The case of the Shweiki house is a common example of the Jerusalem Municipality’s attempts to limit Palestinian residential space, with construction licenses granted to Palestinian residents only in exceptional cases. New residential units for Israeli settlers, however, continue to appear throughout Jerusalem, often on Palestinian land.
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