Ahmad Ghoshe and his family

The Israeli authorities are preparing to demolish a Palestinian family’s home in East Jerusalem, on the grounds that it was built without a permit.

Ahmad Ghoshe and his extended family have lived in the same house in Jerusalem’s Old City for generations. More than 40 of his relatives live on the lower floors of the house, making it extremely overcrowded. In June 2006 he built a small apartment, of 50 square metres, on top of the house, for him tolive in with his wife Haifa, his son Yusif and Yusuf’s wife Lubna, and his son’s three children, Anas (aged six), Adam (aged four) and Amir (aged three).

Three months later, the Jerusalem Municipality issued an order for the demolition of the apartment. On 8 July 2009, after long court proceedings, the demolition order was scheduled to be carried out “imminently.” Since 2007 the family have had to pay a monthly fine of 600 shekels (US$200) because of theunauthorized building work. Only one of the family is in paid employment: he earns 4,000 shekels (US$1,330) a month, with which he has to support the entire family.

Ahmad Ghosheis partially sighted suffers from severe asthma and other serious health problems. He and his family have nowhere to go if their home is demolished, and will be made destitute. One of his sons, Muhammad, lived nearby until 9 June, when his home was demolished.


Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli authorities have pursued a policy of limiting new construction in the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods. The authorities frequently demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the grounds that they have been built without a permit. Yet it is impossible for most Palestinians in East Jerusalem to obtain building permits. Scores of Palestinian families in the Old City and thousands more in the rest of East Jerusalem have demolition orders for their homes awaiting enforcement.

As a result of the housing shortage in the Palestinian sector of the city many families have little choice but to build or extend their homes without permits. If they move out of the city Palestinians residents of Jerusalem lose the right ever to return to the city.

While Palestinians homes are still being demolished because they were built without permits, illegal Israeli settlements continue to be built and expanded in East Jerusalem in violation of international law. Elsewhere in

Jerusalem’s Old City, Israelis have obtained building permits, and demolitions of homes of Israeli Jews built without permit are virtually unheard of.



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