An Israeli court transfers the property rights of an elderly man to a Jewish settler organisation, leaving him paralysed.
An elderly Palestinian man Abdullah Khader struggled in distress and pain as he watched his house being demolished in Occupied Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighbourhood.
Khader had spent all his life in that house. An Israeli court ruled in favour of illegal Jewish settlers, transferring Khader's residential property to a Jewish association and snatching his ownership rights over it.
“We’re steadfast. This is our land. It’s our life,” Khader said.
As the pictures of him shedding tears while watching his home being knocked down made rounds on Twitter, it prompted condemnation from various quarters.
Alaa, Khader’s son, said they were left with no option but to demolish their own house to prevent settlers from taking it over. Twenty-six people, including Khader’s children and grandchildren, lived in the house.
The family has turned down money that was offered to them in exchange for vacating the house without demolishing it.
Khader said even if the settlers offered him “all the money of the world, he would still demolish his house” and not hand it over to them.
“This is my home, where my children and grandchildren were born... My childhood started here in it and I will never leave it,” he said.
Khader said he has all the paperwork to prove he's the rightful owner of the house who has lived in it since he was a child.
Israel on the other hand sees itself as the original owner of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, even though the families living there have ancestral connections with it predating 1948, the founding date of Israel.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories during the 1967 war. The Jewish state then adopted a policy of demolition against the Palestinian-owned structures and also prevented the construction of new housing units by imposing bureaucratic hurdles on Palestinians.
Jerusalem's municipality claimed that the Khader family’s house was built without a permit. But Israel has made it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain construction permits even for simple renovations.
Abdullah has lost his ability to move after the Israeli court decided that he didn't have any right in his house; he had a stroke as a result of the decision. (3/3) pic.twitter.com/f14PIuvx8W— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) August 12, 2021
Expansion of settlements
The Khader family’s house demolition came after Israel resumed plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Approval of the 2,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers is expected to come next week Benny Gantz said on Wednesday. There was also a plan to build 1,000 housing units for Palestinians in Area C, spread across 60 percent of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
Around 400,000 Israeli settlers and 300,000 Palestinians live in 532 towns and villages in Area C that is under Israeli military control.
A planning council committee is expected to meet next week to approve 2,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories, Benny Gantz said on Wednesday, as well as about 1,000 units for Palestinians living in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under Israeli military control. Several previous plans to allow Palestinians to build were stalled in the past.
Israeli politicians often repeat the state’s final aim to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
In October, an Israeli district court in Jerusalem ruled that at least 12 Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem must give up their homes for Israeli settlers to take over, as well as pay for their expenses.
A crackdown by Israeli security forces against Palestinians followed the protests in the neighbourhood spread to the Al Aqsa mosque compound.
That triggered an 11-day bombardment of Gaza by Israel which in turn sparked worldwide protests in support of the Palestinians. A total of at least 256 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children in Gaza. More than 1,900 others were injured.
The settlements are illegal under international law. The European Union and United Nations also hold the same stance saying that they constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.
Some European Union (EU)-funded humanitarian housing unit projects for Palestinians were also blocked by Israel.