Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY - The Al-Qaq family in the town of Silwan, south of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, experienced harsh and bitter moments as a part of their house was demolished. The family faced this ordeal firsthand, as the Israeli occupation municipality in occupied Jerusalem issued a demolition order without considering the circumstances of her special-needs children.
The Al-Qaq family is among the sacred Jerusalem families grappling with oppression and anguish caused by the discriminatory actions of the occupation. This includes ongoing demolitions in the occupied city of Jerusalem, justified under the pretext of unlicensed construction.
The policy of "self-demolition" is considered one of the most perilous Israeli violations against the residents of Jerusalem, given its profound psychological and societal repercussions. It exacerbates their hardships and suffering, depriving them of a dignified life that international agreements and resolutions have pledged to secure for them.
The nightmare of demolition and ethnic cleansing looms over six entire neighborhoods in Silwan, under the pretext of unauthorized construction or the eviction of residents for the benefit of settler associations.
With a heart heavy with pain, Asmaa Al-Qaq, the owner of the house, said "About 20 days ago, crews from the occupation municipality handed us a demolition order for a portion of our home in the Ain al-Lozah neighborhood of Silwan, without considering our difficult situation, especially after the passing of my ill daughter."
She continues, "The demolition was postponed for two weeks, but just two days ago, we were surprised by the Israeli police issuing another demolition order. We were compelled to carry out the order, emptying the room of its contents and beginning to self-demolish its roof, to avoid the exorbitant costs of municipal machinery for the demolition."
The Al-Qaq family, as described by Asmaa, is living under extremely challenging economic circumstances due to her husband's health condition, which has deprived him of the ability to work.
"Our financial situation is incredibly difficult. We have no breadwinner as my husband is ill and recently underwent open-heart surgery. Our only son, who has special needs, is unable to move and suffers from spasms in his legs," she added.
Israeli occupation authorities did not take into consideration the family's circumstances nor the conditions of their three children, all of whom suffer from various disabilities. Instead, they forced them to initiate the demolition of the 40-square-meter room, a space that held all their dreams and memories, including those of their deceased daughter.
Al-Qaq family built their home in 2003, consisting of three rooms and their facilities. The household comprises the husband, wife, mother, and six children.
She indicated that the family paid hefty fines amounting to 70,000 shekels to halt the demolition and acquire building permits, despite their dire economic situation.
"I've made several pleas to stop the demolition because I can't afford legal representation in court due to my financial situation. Nevertheless, we are grateful for everything. This is the price we pay for staying in Jerusalem and defending it," she noted.
The Israeli municipality imposes onerous conditions and exorbitant fees that obstruct Jerusalem residents from obtaining building permits. Even if approved, which is rare, the procedures can extend for years.
In the first half of this year, 96 demolitions of homes and structures took place in occupied Jerusalem, with 31 executed by their owners themselves, according to information from the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
Jerusalemites resort to carrying out demolition orders themselves (self-demolition) after being threatened with hefty fines. Additionally, they are coerced into paying for the demolition services provided by the Israeli municipality's crews and the accompanying forces.