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Women's Voices: Nafiza R. - Property destruction

Name: Nafiza R.
Age: 26 years old
Location: Silwan, East Jerusalem
Nature of incident: Property destruction
Date of incident:   
29 March 2017

On 29 March 2017, about 100 Israeli soldiers surround the house of 26-year-old mother from Silwan and give the family 10 minutes to evacuate the house before demolishing it.
Nafiza is a 26-year-old mother of four children from Silwan in East Jerusalem.
“My name is Nafiza and I am 26 years old. I live in Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem with my husband Imam and our four children aged 1 to 9. I live with my family in an independent 100 square meters spaced house, made of two floors; it has three bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. Our house was built in 2004; we didn’t apply for a building permit; because when Jerusalemites, especially those who live in Silwan area, submit building permit applications to the Israeli authorities, they are either rejected or are referred to endless court proceedings which are very costly.”
“In 2014 Israeli police handed my husband a demolition order written in Hebrew. Imam hired a lawyer to follow up the case, we paid the lawyer 10.000USD to try and revoke the demolition order but his efforts were not successful.”
“On 15 March 2017 the lawyer received another order also written in Hebrew, from the Israeli municipal authorities again for lack of a building permit. On 29 March 2017, at around 4:30 a.m. my husband woke me up telling me someone was knocking at the front door. When he answered we were surprised to see more than 100 Israeli soldiers surrounding the house. They were accompanied by 4 military jeeps and a bulldozer.”
“The commander ordered us out of the house and informed us of their decision to demolish the house. I went crazy when I heard the commander’s orders; I couldn’t comprehend what he had said. My husband asked the commander to get some details but the commander told us they were going to demolish the house within 10 minutes.”
“I woke my children up and got them dressed then we all went outside the house and stood in the street. I had a nervous breakdown, feeling helpless as I and my family sat on the ground watching our own house being demolished.”
“The soldiers prevented us from taking any of our belongings outside the house; only some soldiers took out some furniture and left most of it inside the house, then the bulldozer started to knock down walls.”

“My children were terrified and started to cry. I was torn apart trying to hold my tears back and to show strength in front of my children. I tried to make them feel safe but to no avail. At around 6:30 a.m., the soldiers finished the demolition process and they withdrew from the area. Then our neighbors came to check on us and to support us. I currently live with my family at my parents’ house until we find another place.”

keyword: Jerusalem Women | Property Destruction