Israeli police ransacked seven apartments and urinated inside one while demolishing the Silwan apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the Palestinian motorist from East Jerusalem who killed a three-month old Israeli-American Chaya Zissel and one Ecuadoran tourist in a light rail attack in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014.
“They urinated on the mattresses in my brother’s apartment,” says Enas al-Shaludi, 43, the mother of the deceased driver. “You can see the urine on the mattresses.” In addition to the demolition, which the family expected after receiving a demolition order last Friday, all of the other apartments in the four-story residential building were raided. The residents were evacuated overnight to a flimsy plastic tarp tent across the street.
Just before midnight on Tuesday evening scores of Israeli border police arrived outside of Enas al-Shaludi’s house. Her apartment is on the floor below where her son and three grandchildren lived. “At one o’clock in the morning they [border police] came and took all of the families and all of the people in this building and the next building. They moved us out to the tent, maybe 50 or more people, there,” she explains. The neighbors, all from the al-Shaludi family waited overnight while police affixed incendiary devices to the ceilings of the destroyed apartment.
Enas al-Shaludi waited outside in the cold from 1:00 am to 5:00 am as border police conducted searches throughout the building. When the family returned they found shards of glass everywhere. Children’s bedroom furniture was overturned and broken, toys and clothes littered broken wardrobes. In many of the rooms, not even a centimeter of floor was visible because of the piles of dumped personal items. The building resembled that of Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawasmeh, the two accused abductors and killers of three Israeli settlers last June from a hitchhiking spot in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem. In that case, the Israeli army demolished a unit in each of the buildings with explosives, and trashed all of the other apartments with hammers.
“When they demolished, with the bomb, I felt like I can’t stand on my legs. Until now I can’t stand,” sys Enas al-Shaludi seated from a sofa in what was once her living room. A hutch in her hallway is cracked. Her bedroom is unusable. She is planning to spend the night with other relatives, once the paralysis of shock faded and she was able to walk again.
“The other houses, you can see inside all of the bathrooms, everything. They broke many doors, glass and windows throughout the building,” says Abdel Karim al-Shaludi, 62, a relative of the family and engineer who came his Shuafat home to view the aftermath shortly after sunrise. Droves of relatives and neighbors gathered after daybreak to help assess the damage. Peering at concrete rubble that lined the floor of al-Shaludi’s one-time home, Karim al-Shaludi laments, “I feel that this situation will push the people.” For him, if his nephew’s home is demolished than so too should the house of the confessed Jewish-Israeli killer of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year old youth from Jerusalem who was kidnapped and then burned to death last June.
Since al-Shaludi’s October 22, 2014 attack in Jerusalem, the family home has been a site of clashes with police and is now the first case of Israel’s return to a regular use of punitive home demolitions for Palestinians thought to have committed nationalistic crimes against Israeli citizens. Netanyahu announced on Sunday the policy would return in earnest after the military said they would abandon the practice in 2005.
On the street just below al-Shaludi’s flat, mounds of concrete crushed a parked car. The explosion shot the cement bindings out to the street.
Back up in the destroyed al-Shaludi apartment, Fadi, a 13-year-old cousin of the deceased, regains his footing inside the blown out home. It’s the third demolished house he has seen belonging to a member of his family. When asked how many demolished homes he’s visited in his East Jerusalem neighborhood, he thinks for a moment, and then settles on “a lot. Maybe eight.”