Israel’s home demolitions a ‘war on nerves’ for Palestinians

GAZA: Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem – Sabah Bader, 57, spent her life savings from working as a chef on an apartment she could finally call her own, hoping for some sense of security for herself and her son.
But since she moved into a 13-unit building in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, south of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, eight years ago, the single mother’s life has been far from secure.
Bader and the nearly 100 other Palestinians living i­­n the same building have had the threat of demolition and forced displacement by Israeli authorities constantly hanging over them.
Residents of the 13-unit building – at least half of whom are minors – received a final Israeli demolition order on February 5, under the pretext that their building “lacks a permit”.
Days later, following international pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the demolition would be indefinitely postponed.
While the building’s removal was put off, the demolition order remains in force and may be executed at any moment.“Even if they demolish this building, I will put up a tent and stay here. I am not better than any of the people living in refugee camps – I will become exactly like them,” Bader told Al Jazeera from her home.
Under the new right-wing Israeli government sworn in late last year, Israeli officials have been fast-tracking the demolition of Israeli-designated “illegal” Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, including in the neighbourhoods of Silwan, Jabal al-Mukaber and Hizma.
These Israeli policies mean that at least one-third of all Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem lack an Israeli-issued building permit, with more than 100,000 residents at risk of forced displacement, according to United Nations (UN) figures.
Close to 1,000 other Palestinians are facing forced eviction from their homes in cases filed against them by Israeli settler groups, many with support from the Israeli government.
On Monday, Israeli forces demolished two homes belonging to a father and his son from the Basheer family in Jabal al-Mukaber, unleashing widespread confrontations with residents, during which at least 30 Palestinians – including an Al Jazeera cameraman – were shot and injured with rubber-coated bullets.
Raed Basheer, the lawyer for the families of the neighbourhood, said there were also at least two people injured with live ammunition, who are currently hospitalised. –Agencies