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Women's Voices: Siham S.- Property Demolition

Name Siham S

Age

54
Location Silwan
Type of incident Property Demolition 
Date of incident  11 January 2018

 

On 14 January 2017, Siham and her family received a demolition notice for a small garage her husband had built in order to learn a living to support the family. Israeli authorities demolished the garage on 11 January 2018 with all of its contents, including a car, still inside.

“I’m Siham Siyam, (54 years old), married to Mahmoud Siyam (57 years), for 34 years. I am the mother of 7 boys and 4 girls. I lived in Silwan (Ein Al-Lawza neighborhood) for 54 years.”

“One and a half years ago, my husband built a small room, on the ground floor of our building,  to use as a garage (a place to fix cars). This was in order to earn a living to support the family.” 

“On Thursday 14/12/2017, the Jerusalem municipality authorities handed my husband a demolition notice for building without permit. Even if we asked for a building permit, it was not possible to obtain it. This is because of the Israeli discriminatory and Judaization policies imposed in the area on us as Arab residents.”

“Ever since we received the demolition notice, our lawyer has been demanding a trial in order to consider the demolition order. However the trial was repeatedly postponed, with the excuse given that our papers and case documents were missing.” 

“On Thursday 11/1/2018, at nearly at 10:30 in the morning, I was alone by myself in the house, when I heard a loud sound of a bulldozer and a noise outside our house.”

“When I opened the door, there were three persons from the municipality and behind them standing two policemen. One of the municipality persons handed me a demolition order for the garage, to be carried out that same day.”

“ I started crying and screaming at him. He cursed at me and told me to “shut up.”I went downstairs to ask them to give us some time, in order that we could empty the garage of the tools and equipment my husband used to use, but no one listened to me.”

“Four policemen drove me away from my home. They then used a bulldozer to demolish the garage and all of its contents, including the equipment my husband used to use. There was even a car inside the garage; they refused to let us take it out and they demolished the garage with the car still inside it.”

“I felt powerless, oppressed and the victim of an injustice. The place was a place of earning for my family; it was demolished due to an unjust decision ordered by an unjust government, which does not consider our situation or needs as humans.”

“Four days after the demolition, the lawyer handed to my husband a fine paper amounting to 20000 NIS, which detailed the costs of the demolition equipment and procedures, and also included a fine for building without a permit.”