Palestinians in Jerusalem forced to demolish their own homes during pandemic

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Palestinian streets opened back up this week after a weekend-long closure for the Eid al-Adha holidays. Just as quickly as shops and businesses had closed down, restaurants filled up and streets were backed up with traffic this week, as the celebratory air around Eid continued even after the holiday. 

Despite the reopening of the country, Palestine continued to record hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily, with more than 600 cases reported in the past 24 hours, the large majority of them in occupied East Jerusalem. 

Of the 600 cases recorded on Tuesday, 229 new cases were recorded in the West Bank. The results were recorded after more than 3,000 tests were conducted.  

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has been reporting seemingly positive news, however, in recent days, focusing on the increasing recovery rate in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. 

On Tuesday, the MOH reported that of the 16,628 recorded cases in Palestine, 7,929 were in recovery, signifying 48% of total cases. 

Noticeably, the number of daily cases being reported out of Hebron, the epicenter of the virus, have dropped significantly, with just 76 cases reported in the district in the past 24 hours. Just last week, Hebron was reporting upwards of 200 COVID-19 cases per day. 

It remained unclear, however, if the decline in rates could be attributed to a reduction in testing, rather than an indication that the rate of infection was declining. 

At least two more Palestinians, both from the Hebron district, died on Tuesday due to coronavirus complications, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 89. 

The situation in occupied East Jerusalem, whose more than 300,000 Palestinian residents live under the control of the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, continues to grow worse. 

There are more than 2,300 active cases of the virus in East Jerusalem, and the daily rate of infection continues to climb. 

Despite this, Israeli authorities have continued their policy of home demolitions and arrests in the occupied territory. 

On Monday, two Palestinian families in the Silwan and Jabal al-Mukkabir neighborhoods of the city were forced to demolish their homes, under the pretext that they were built “illegally.”

Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality had given the family two choices: either demolish their homes themselves, or wait until Israeli authorities come to destroy them, and then incur the hefty demolition fee from the municipality.