While I was watching the red carpet being rolled out at Abu Dhabi airport to welcome the passengers on board flight LY971 from Tel Aviv, a tweet appeared on my timeline showing Khaled Bashir, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, demolishing his own home in Jabal Al-Mukaber.
Khalid Bashir, a Palestinian from Jabal Al-Mukabber in Palestine, is destroying his house by himself as Israel ordered him to demolish it. pic.twitter.com/unjSoFWg9d
— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) August 31, 2020
He would not be the last to demolish his own home while Arab states normalise or consider normalising relations with Apartheid Israel. A few kilometres away at Beit Hanina two brothers also demolished their homes to avoid heavy fines by the occupier state.
Orders to demolish homes are usually made by Israel where Palestinians, having applied on many occasions for building permits to build or expand their homes, are refused. Having lost hope of ever building ‘legally’ and remember this is in illegally occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinians build and hope that they will not face demolition of their homes at some point in the future. However, not only does Israel issue demolition orders, it gives Palestinians a stark choice, demolish your home yourself or its bulldozers will do it and it will charge you for the privilege.
Early in August, four families were forced to demolish their homes in Jabal Al-Mukaber.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA oPt) between 11 and 24 August, 25 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished/seized and 32 Palestinians were displaced.
Israel does not only demolish structures built by Palestinians. In 2019 it demolished 97 structures funded by the EU or member states worth some €480,000 ($573,908) in the West Bank, a 90 per cent increase on the year before, according to internal EU figures. The same report noted that Israel also demolished “35 percent more Palestinian structures and displaced 95 percent more Palestinian people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem than in 2018.”
The EU’s response was: “Demolitions and seizures of humanitarian assets are contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law.”
“On a number of occasions, often in coordination with EU member states, the EU has called for the restitution and/or compensation of EU-funded humanitarian assets which have been demolished, dismantled, or confiscated by Israel,” it added. To date, not a single euro has been paid back by Israel for its actions.