On 20 December 2016, Israeli officials bang at the door of 58 year old woman from Ath Thuri neighbourhood in East Jerusalem at around 10:00am and hand her a demolition order for her house.
|Nature of incident:
||Threat of Home Demolition
|Date of incident:
||20 December 2016
Mufida is a 58-year mother of 3 children from Ath Thuri neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.
“On 20 December 2016, at around 10:00 a.m., I looked outside one of the windows of my house and I was surprised to see five Israeli police officers and two municipality employees inside the courtyard. Seconds later I heard loud banging at the front door. I opened the window and asked them what they wanted; one of the municipality employees asked me to open the door, I refused because I was terrified. The police officer pointed his gun at me.”
“The municipality employee wanted to talk to Rida Brdawheel, my mother in law who owns the house, to hand her a demolition order, which she had to sign. I was shivering behind the door out of fear yet I told him that Rida is 95 years old; she is old and sick and can’t walk.”
“The municipality employee asked me to open the door again but I refused; then he started to yell at me saying the demolition order needed to be signed. I eventually had to sign the paper, after I handed my ID to the police officer to check my relationship to Rida Brdawheel. The document was written both in Hebrew and Arabic, and the reason for the demolition was lack of building permit.”
“15 minutes later the municipality employees and the police left the house; as I watched them leave I noticed two soldiers standing by the front door. I was so afraid that I felt pain and tension in my stomach; having a gun pointed at me was terrifying.”
“The following day, on 21 December 2016, I gave the demolition order to our lawyer who followed up the issue with the authorities and told us that there was nothing we could do and that most probably the house will be demolished.”
“Receiving this order was shocking for my family although this was the 3rd such order that we have received. Although we spent huge amounts of money in fines, lawyers, and engineers trying to get a building permit and avoid getting the house demolished, but in each trail our request was denied by the Israeli authorities and we were fined with money.”
We had several court hearing and we were fined huge amounts of money but still the house could not be saved. In the end we had two choices: either we demolished our house ourselves or pay the demolition costs if the authorities did it themselves.”
“It was painful for me to see how much stress and agony my husband was going through, being on the edge of losing our house. I can never feel safe anymore; I and my family are living under continuous fear of losing our home and we feel desperate because nothing could be done to save the house. The idea of demolishing the house that I have lived in and had all my memories in haunted me.”