Affidavit No. 5089/2009

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, „Ala‟ „Abd-al-Razeq „Abd-al-Hamid al-Shuweiki, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 083045870, born on 14 May 1959, a worker and a resident of Beit Hanina al Jadida town, Jerusalem city, would like to declare the following:

In 1999, I constructed a house on a piece of land, which I had bought in 1982, in al-Ashqariyya neighbourhood in the town of Beit Hanina, north of the city of Jerusalem. I built the house to accommodate my family, which is comprised of six members. I also planned to build other storeys on the house for my children in the future. Construction of the house cost me approximately USD 60,000.

My family and I resided in our house for ten years. In February 2008, I received a demolition order from the Jerusalem municipality, claiming that I had built my house without having obtained the required construction permit from the municipality of the occupying authorities. I also received a financial fine of ILS 28,000. I paid the fine in instalments. It should be noted that the fine does not cancel the house demolition order.
In April 2008, I filed a petition before the municipal court against the administrative demolition order and the fine. After my lawyer had filed my submissions, the judge gave me a respite of one year to obtain a permit from the competent bodies at the municipality of the occupying authorities.

During the year that followed, I submitted the required papers to the municipality employees. I was also obliged to hire an engineer to follow-up with me about technical building issues for the house I had built. After several attempts to submit the required documents, my permit application was rejected, allegedly because the house construction site was classified as „Green Land‟, on which houses cannot be built. The engineer I hired, who had supervised the construction of my house, explained that it would be very difficult to obtain a permit and change the classification of the land. To do so, the whole quarter would have to be included in a detailed structural scheme, which would require tens of thousands of shekels from every house in the area.

I tried my best to convince officials at the municipality to grant me a permit. I said that my house was located within a Palestinian residential neighbourhood and was away from Israeli communities. However, they rejected my application and handed me a second demolition order. This occurred in December 2008. When I returned to the court, the judge confirmed the house demolition order, claiming that the court had given me a respite of one year to obtain a permit, which I did not get.

At around 7:00 am on 13 July 2009, my family and I woke up to Israeli border guard officers shouting and demanding that we get out of the house. When I went outside, I saw dozens of Israeli police, border guard and Special Forces officers.
“Get out of the house. You have ten minutes to take out what you need from the house” they demanded.
“My house is full. We have been living here for ten years. Eight persons are living in this house. How can I empty it in ten minutes?” I asked the officer.
“You were already given notice. You could have vacated it a long time ago. I don‟t have time to wait for you” The officer replied.

However, he said he would bring in some workers to help me. Indeed, four Israeli workers arrived. They threw pieces of furniture out of the house in a harsh and careless manner, damaging most of it.

Half an hour later, when I saw the bulldozer starting to demolish my house, I lost my temper, especially because most of the furniture was still inside the house. I sat on the floor, refusing to leave. The soldiers and policemen grabbed me by my shoulders and pulled me outside of the house. Confrontations took place between my children and the occupying troops and border guard officers as they tried to prevent the bulldozer from demolishing the house. During this time, I lost consciousness and I was taken to the emergency health centre close to my house. I sustained contusions as a result of having been pulled by the soldiers, and as a result of trying to separate my children from the policemen. My brother was also arrested, ostensibly because he had assaulted the occupying troops.

After I returned from the health centre, I found that the municipality employees and police and border guards had left. They had destroyed my house, which had sheltered me and my wife and children. Today, I live in a leased house, the rent of which I cannot afford. The house measures only 70 square metres.

This is my declaration and hereby I sign, 20 September 2009.
Signature: Ala‟ al-Shuweiki
Name not withheld
Field researcher: Manaf „Abbas

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5089/2009
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 20 September 2009
  • Name: „Ala‟ „Abd-al-Razeq „Abd-al-Hamid al-Shuweiki
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