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Ahmad Jaradat-AIC-P
Al-Walaja is a Palestinian village that is originally located west of Jerusalem, and
its residents were expelled and displaced in 1948, they were distributed among
many camps that were set up at the time to receive Palestinian refugees, and part
of its population moved to live in the southern part of their land, which was
outside the borders of 48, and became It belongs to the lands of the West Bank,
specifically to the Bethlehem district , where the village that was established is
located west of Bethlehem, about 8 km away.
However, at the beginning of the eighties of the last century, the occupation
authorities annexed part of the village lands to the municipal borders of
Jerusalem, as happened in many areas adjacent to the Israeli municipal borders of
This illegal measure of annexation led to the confiscation of a lot of lands,
especially in the village of Al-Walaja. The most dangerous and violating thing is
the subjection of part of its lands to the borders of the Jerusalem municipality and
the imposition of municipal laws and Israeli laws on it, even though its residents
hold a West Bank identity card.
This means that citizens who hold West Bank identity cards must obtain building
permits from the Jerusalem municipality, which is impossible here, given that the
land belongs to the Jerusalem municipality, and they are residents of the West
Bank. Thus, dozens of homes were demolished decades ago and are still being
demolished. The village was surrounded by the apartheid wall and barbed wire.
In this difficult situation experienced by the village’s 3,500 residents, they are
exposed to the demolition of their homes, as the Jerusalem Municipality takes
turns to demolish them in the areas and neighborhoods that have been annexed
to the Jerusalem Municipality, and from the Israeli Civil Administration in the
West Bank in the areas and neighborhoods that are within the borders of the

West Bank and outside the areas that have been annexed. This complex reality
put the population in a situation in which it is difficult to build despite the natural
increase of the community , which requires an increase in the number of
buildings. What made the situation more difficult was that the village was
surrounded by settlements, especially Gillo, Har Homa, and Givat Hamatos. This
requires the residents to pass through the road that leads to the settlements,
which was closed many years in the past, and military checkpoints were
established that prevent anyone other than the residents of the village from
entering it. That is, simply closing the village and isolating it from its Palestinian
surroundings, especially the Bethlehem district .
Days before this article was written, the villagers were surprised by the presence
of Israeli bulldozers and under heavy guard of soldiers and police. Three houses
were demolished under the pretext of not obtaining a permit. This is the pretext
under which houses are demolished in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It should be
noted that obtaining a building permit for a Palestinian is an issue. It is difficult
and reaches the point of impossible, and the Licensing applications takes many
years, whether it is rejected or accepted. Thus, the Palestinian is forced to build to
house his family, which grows by virtue of natural growth.
In Al-Walaja, the owner of one of the recently demolished houses, Mrs. Ghadir Al-
Atrash, whose house is located in Ain Al-Juwaiza neighborhood in the village, says,
"My house, consisting of two floors and an area of 110 square meters, was
demolished, and I was given an order from the Israeli army not to build again,
now my family and I homeless, and we will have to rent a house to live in.”
During the demolition process, which demanded the house of Raji Al-Aaraj family,
which is 120 square meters, and the house of Abdullah Rabah, which is also 120
square meters too. Confrontations took place as the Palestinians confronted the
occupation forces and their bulldozers peacefully by forming a human barrier to
prevent the bulldozers from reaching and demolishing homes. The Israeli army
and police assaulted them with batons and beat them, and fired dozens of tear
gas canisters. Eyewitnesses confirmed that many of them fainted as a result of the
tear gas and bruises as a result of being beaten with batons.

In a related context, during the month of January of this year, the Jerusalem
municipality demolished 31 houses in the areas and neighborhoods of the city of
Jerusalem. The municipality’s decision often included a decision that the owner of
the house pay an exorbitant sum as a fine instead of the municipality’s bulldozers
demolishing it, which prompts some to demolish his house himself in order to
avoid paying the fine, as happened weeks ago with the Jerusalemite citizen
Mustafa Al-Aramin, who preferred to demolish his house himself in Silwan town
after the municipality asked him for an amount in return for demolishing it. Thus,
he became homeless with his four children. The demolition of the house owner
himself, in addition to his loss of the house, also represents a psychological
punishment to carry out this demolition, as Al-Aramin said.
Ahmad Jaradat: Alternative Information Center- Palestine

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