Broken
homes

A record year of home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem

This is East Jerusalem, home to more than 300,000 Palestinians. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Why is Israel demolishing Palestinian homes here?

For decades, Israel has been accused of using home demolitions as a tool to control the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. Israel approves less than two percent of all requests for building permits submitted by Palestinians, and then razes the homes and shops that lack one. In recent months, Israel has also ramped up its policy of punitive demolitions - destroying the family homes of suspected Palestinian attackers - despite the practice being labelled a war crime.

What happened in 2016?

For a full year, Al Jazeera worked with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to monitor and document every demolition that occurred in occupied East Jerusalem, a neighbourhood that has been at the heart of a recent wave of unrest.
After violence between Israelis and Palestinians picked up in late 2015, in what some described as a "third Intifada", Al Jazeera began monitoring how the policy of home demolitions was being enforced in the ensuing months. 2016 turned out to be a record year, with the highest number of demolitions and displacements since UNOCHA began recording these trends in 2009.

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How were these demolitions documented?

Starting in January 2016, we plotted each demolition point on the East Jerusalem map and recorded the case details, including how many Palestinians were displaced or affected. We profiled one family in detail each month, conducting interviews and capturing 360° images of their demolished homes. Each story in the below timeline helps to reveal the scale and scope of Israel's policy of home demolitions - from the destruction of Palestinian gravesites and doghouses, to families being forced to tear down their own homes as a cost-effective alternative to having it done by Israeli authorities, to children living in tents atop the rubble.

January

16 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Mohammed Allyan's home, demolished on January 4

1

Beit Hanina

January 3

1

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their home, which had been under construction in Beit Hanina, for lacking an Israeli building permit. The family said they began building the home in late December 2015, spending around $5,000 on construction materials to get started. Almost immediately, they received a demolition order. In order to avoid the high costs associated with having municipal authorities demolish their home, they opted for self-demolition instead, taking it apart brick by brick.

2

Jabal Mukaber

January 4

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces used sledgehammers to smash the walls of Mohammed Allyan's home, the middle storey of a three-storey building. The demolition was punitive: Mohammed's son, Bahaa, was accused in a deadly shooting and stabbing attack in the East Talpiot Jewish settlement in October 2015. Bahaa was killed at the scene of the attack and the demolition order was swiftly issued. Although the family had appealed to Israel's Supreme Court, the order was upheld. Eight members of the family were displaced, forced to erect a tent by the ruins of their old home.

Mohammed Allyan describes his family's loss

3

Jabal Mukaber

January 4

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces punitively sealed with concrete the family home of Alaa Abu Jamal, who was involved in an October 2015 attack on Israeli citizens. Abu Jamal was killed at the scene of the attack. Five family members who lived in the home, including three children, were displaced by the sealing, which affected the first floor of a three-storey building, built in 1990. This was the third time that properties belonging to Abu Jamal's family have been punitively demolished or sealed off.

4

Jabal Mukaber

January 6

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their horse stable for lacking an Israeli building permit. The wooden stable was built in 2013 to provide shelter for two horses. According to the family, Israeli authorities visited the property in December 2015, confiscated one of the horses and ordered the stable demolished.

5

Silwan

January 7

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a home that was under construction because the family did not have a building permit. The family began building the concrete-and-stone home in April 2015 and received the demolition order a few months later. In addition to destroying the home, Israeli forces bulldozed an olive field and damaged several olive trees while carving out a path to the house. The home, which had been just two months away from completion, was intended to house the family's next generation.

6

Silwan

January 7

1

Structures destroyed

3

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction home because it lacked a building permit. The affected family said they began building the home in November 2015 and quickly received a stop-work order. In late December, the family appealed against the order and received a one-month injunction; but in carrying out the demolition just a week later, Israeli authorities alleged that the family had violated the conditions of the injunction by altering the "status quo" of the home. A mother and her two children had planned to move into the home, but instead, they had to continue living with their grandmother.

7

Beit Safafa

January 7

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Part of a restaurant belonging to a Palestinian family was demolished by Israeli forces because it lacked a building permit. The demolished portion, an 80sq-metre extension to an older structure built in 1998, comprised the restaurant hall, which cost the family approximately $90,000 to build. Its demolition rendered the restaurant temporarily non-functional. The family says they never received a demolition order.

8

Silwan

January 13

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a shelter for goats because it lacked a building permit. The shelter, made of zinc and bricks, was built in June 2015, and a demolition order was issued the following November. The family opted to self-demolish the shelter to avoid other penalties, including a $10,000 fine and possible prison time. After the demolition, they were forced to sell the goats, causing them to lose a significant source of their limited income.

9

Beit Hanina

January 20

2

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home and an exterior wall because the family lacked building permits. The family said they began building the home in November 2015 but never received a demolition order. The bulldozer that came to raze the home also damaged the main gate to the land on which it was located. Hana, the mother of the affected family, said the home was intended for her daughter and four grandchildren to move into.

10

Silwan

January 20

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

A foundation for two apartments was destroyed because it lacked a building permit. The affected family - which had already been paying hefty fines for living in their existing home, which was unlicensed - said they spent around $47,000 on construction. They said they never received a stop-work order prior to the demolition.

11

At-Tur

January 22

1

Structures destroyed

15

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to demolish a three-unit building housing 15 people, including nine children, because it lacked a building permit. Israeli authorities issued a demolition order against the building in 2007, but the family spent years fighting it in court. After the demolition, the three displaced households moved into rented homes.

12

Sur Bahir

January 22

1

Structures destroyed

1

People displaced or affected

A family was forced to self-demolish their home extension because they did not have a building permit. The 50sq-metre extension, which comprised a bedroom and a bathroom, was built in the late 1990s and housed one family member.

13

Jabal Mukaber

January 27

2

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house and a retaining wall due to a lack of building permits. One household, including six children, was affected by the demolition of the home, which they had planned to move into a few months later.

14

Beit Hanina

January 27

1

Structures destroyed

24

People displaced or affected

Four Palestinian households, comprising 17 children and seven adults, were displaced after Israeli forces demolished their home for lacking a building permit. Several members of the family reported that Israeli forces pepper-sprayed them during the demolition. The home was built in 2001, and a demolition order issued swiftly, but the family spent years unsuccessfully fighting it in court. Two of the displaced households found temporary accommodations a week before the demolition after learning from their lawyer that it was imminent.

February

14 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Adnan Darwish's home, demolished on February 17

15

Silwan

February 2

1

Structures destroyed

10

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home because it lacked a building permit. The family, who live in another house on the same plot of land, said they began building the new home in August 2015 and received a demolition order on the first day of February 2016. They had appointed a lawyer to attend a court session on the demolition on February 2, but their home was razed that same day.

16

Sur Bahir

February 2

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited house belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. The family had been planning to move into the house, which had been under construction since August 2015, within a week. They received two demolition orders in December 2015, after having spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase the land and build the home.

17

Issawiya

February 3

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

A car repair workshop was demolished for lacking a building permit. Immediately after the workshop was built in February 2015, the family was ordered to demolish it, but no action was taken until a year later. The demolition process resulted in damage to six cars that were in the shop at the time, along with tools and equipment. The workshop, which had been the family's only source of income, was located in an area slated to become part of an Israeli national park.

18

Sheikh Jarrah

February 3

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

A family was forced to self-demolish two-thirds of their home because it lacked a building permit. Among the seven people displaced were three children. The demolished portion, built as an extension to their home in 2005, was used as a kitchen, living room, sitting area and sleeping space. In 2015, after a long legal battle, the family lost a case on the custodianship of the land immediately adjacent to the house.

19

Beit Hanina

February 6

1

Structures destroyed

11

People displaced or affected

A family was forced to self-demolish their uninhabited home because they did not have a building permit. The home was built in late 2015, with a demolition order issued that December. The family, which had been planning to move into the home, was forced to continue living in a rental property in Beit Hanina.

20

Issawiya

February 17

8

Structures destroyed

45

People displaced or affected

Israeli bulldozers levelled several dunams of agricultural land and razed eight structures, including several that were built to house animals, due to a lack of building permits. The demolitions affected eight households comprising 45 people. Adnan Darwish, 70, lost his orchard, where for two decades he had grown peaches, figs, lemons, olives and almonds. Israel has been attempting to have the land declared a national park. This is not the first time the area has been targeted: In June 2015, Israeli authorities destroyed Darwish's farmhouse, located on the same plot of land.

Adnan Darwish describes his family's loss

21

Jabal Mukaber

February 19

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish part of their house because it lacked a building permit. Built in 2014, the demolished portion was used as a living room. The family unsuccessfully fought the demolition in court and ultimately opted for self-demolition in order to avoid the costs of having it demolished by Israeli authorities.

March

29 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Muna Jaabees' home, demolished on March 21

22

Silwan

March 1

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited house belonging to a Palestinian family because they did not have a building permit. The home was built in March 2015 at a cost of approximately $65,000; the head of the household passed away that October, shortly after receiving the demolition order. During the demolition, several people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces.

23

At-Tur

March 2

1

Structures destroyed

10

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a three-storey building that was under construction because it lacked a building permit. The plot of land, 500sq metres in size, was privately owned, and the family said they spent more than $200,000 on constructing the new home.

24

Jabal Mukaber

March 2

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their rooftop home extension because it lacked a building permit. The extension was originally built in the 1970s out of bricks, wood and metal, according to the affected family. They received a demolition order five years ago, but fought it in court.

25

Ras al-Amud

March 21

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

A family was forced to self-demolish their home, which was under construction, because it lacked a building permit. The family said they received an initial demolition order after construction began in late 2014, and then another order on March 20, giving them a 24-hour notice. The family's engaged son had planned to move into the home after his marriage.

26

Jabal Mukaber

March 21

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home belonging to the family of Israa Jaabees, stating that it lacked a building permit. Construction began in June 2015, but the demolition order did not follow until October, shortly after Israa was accused of lighting a gas canister to attack police in the occupied West Bank - although she denied the alleged attack. Israa's sister, Muna, said the under-construction home was intended to be six stories high and to house the whole family. Israa was not even living there at the time, she said.

Muna Jaabees describes her family's loss

27

Ras al-Amud

March 21

1

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction house because it lacked a building permit. The family said they started work on the house in March 2015 on privately owned land and immediately received a stop-work order.

28

Silwan

March 21

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a structure that had been under construction on the roof of their home, due to lack of a building permit. The structure, made of aluminium and gypsum boards, was intended as a home for the family's son after his marriage.

29

Beit Hanina

March 22

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited residential caravan because it lacked a building permit. The Palestinian family that owned the caravan said it was built on privately owned land in early 2016 and was intended to house one of the family's sons.

30

Jabal Mukaber

March 22

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a cellphone shop belonging to Palestinians in the Jabal Mukaber area, as it did not have a building permit. The families of the owner and the tenant - comprising six people, including two children - were affected by the demolition. The shop had been built in 1995 on privately owned land, but demolition orders were not received until 2014 and 2016.

31

Al-Watta

March 28

6

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished six structures for lacking building permits. The structures included a basketball court, a security guard post, a residential structure, an agricultural structure, an animal pen and retaining walls. Several water tanks were also damaged during the demolition process. The affected family said the structures were built in the late 1990s with a building permit from the Bethlehem municipality.

32

Silwan

March 29

2

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a children's playground and a dove coop belonging to a Palestinian family, as the structures did not have building permits. A family of nine, including seven children, were affected by the demolitions, which the family says came without warning. During the demolition process, Israeli authorities also cut more than two dozen fruit trees and damaged parts of the surrounding landscape, the family said.

33

Silwan

March 29

3

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a horse stable, a dove coop and stone retaining walls on two separate plots of land belonging to two Palestinian families, as the structures lacked building permits. Both households consequently lost a main source of their income. Israeli authorities also cut around 80 trees and partially bulldozed the land.

34

At-Tur

March 29

3

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a dove coop, an exterior wall and a tool storage shed due to a lack of building permits. The family said the structures were built in 2007, but they never received demolition orders.

35

At-Tur

March 29

6

Structures destroyed

19

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished six structures for lacking building permits, including two storage spaces, three animal-related structures and one agricultural structure. During the demolitions, 40 trees were reportedly damaged. Some of the affected families said they had previous structures demolished in this area, which is slated for an Israeli national park.

April

10 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Shirine Sadawi's home, demolished on April 6

36

Watta

April 1

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a metal fence because it lacked an Israeli building permit. The affected family said that the fence was erected on top of an old stone wall in August 2015, and a demolition order followed in January.

37

Jabal Mukaber

April 4

2

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian house for lacking a building permit. Two households were affected, including a family of six who owned the house, and a neighbouring family whose wall was bulldozed in order to clear a path to the demolished house.

38

Beit Hanina

April 6

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Shirine Sadawi's family was forced to self-demolish their home extension because they lacked a building permit. Their baby triplets, who used to sleep in the extension, were displaced, and the other four family members, who used part of the extension as a sitting room, were also affected. Sadawi said the family has lived here for years and attempted to get permission for an extension to make more room for their children, but the request was denied. The family paid a private company thousands of dollars to demolish the extension and was also handed a punitive fine from the municipality.

Shirine Sadawi describes her family's loss

39

Sur Bahir

April 11

1

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces sealed off a Palestinian home as a punitive measure, after one of the family members allegedly threw stones towards an Israeli settler's vehicle, resulting in a car crash that killed one settler and injured two others in September 2015. In early 2016, an Israeli court ruled in favour of the sealing, which had been requested by a military commander.

40

Walaja

April 12

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a home that was under construction in Walaja village because it lacked a building permit. One family, including four children, was affected by the demolition.

41

Walaja

April 12

1

Structures destroyed

16

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces destroyed an under-construction home because the owners did not have a building permit. The demolition affected two families, with nine children between them.

42

Walaja

April 12

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a home that was under construction due to a lack of a building permit, affecting a family of seven, including four children.

43

Al-Watta

April 15

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their doghouse because it did not have a building permit. The affected family said that the structure was built in early 2016, and they received a verbal demolition order soon afterwards.

44

Sur Bahir

April 21

1

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a one-room extension to their house because they did not have a building permit. The room, built on the rooftop of their existing home, was used for laundry and storage.

May

12 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Mohammed Tutanji's home, demolished on May 17

45

Walaja

May 5

2

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction house - along with a separate, smaller structure used by workers as a resting and storage room - because there were no building permits. The demolitions affected three families, including five children.

46

Wadi al-Joz

May 17

3

Structures destroyed

19

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes because they did not have building permits. The houses were built in 1998 and 2008, and the court ruled in favour of the demolitions in March 2016. According to the affected families, on the morning of the demolitions, Israeli forces stormed into their homes, detained the families outside and physically assaulted one man before razing the homes. Resident and father Aref Tutanji said the families were not given any time to salvage their belongings. Afterwards, his family erected a tent nearby to live in - but Israeli forces swiftly ordered the tent demolished, forcing them to move into a rental property.

Mohammed Tutanji describes his family's loss

47

Shuafat

May 18

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a home in the Shuafat area because it lacked a building permit. The house is located along a route that aims to connect Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. Before they moved to Shuafat, the family's home in the Beit Hanina area was also demolished.

48

Bab al-Zahira

May 23

1

Structures destroyed

1

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a prayer room because it lacked a building permit. The room, made of zinc and iron boards, was built more than a decade ago. It was not clear how many people still used the room.

49

Jabal Mukaber

May 24

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a storage space belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. The family said they intended for the structure to be a residential house, but after receiving multiple demolition orders, they converted it into a storage space.

50

Issawiya

May 24

2

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a home that was under construction, along with a retaining wall, because the structures did not have building permits. Only one floor of the would-be three-storey home had been built at the time of the demolition.

51

Issawiya

May 24

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction private park belonging to a Palestinian family because they lacked a building permit. The family said they started building the park in 2014 on one dunum of land. They had completed retaining walls and fencing, among other structures.

52

Silwan

May 28

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a house extension that was under construction because they lacked a building permit. The extension, which was meant to include a toilet and a kitchen, had already cost them more than $5,000 to build.

June

No demolitions were carried out in East Jerusalem during the month of June. The halt in demolitions is typical during the holy month of Ramadan, aid workers say.

July

35 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Tarek Abdallah's home, demolished on July 26

53

Jabal Mukaber

July 13

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction home belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. The family said they began constructing the house in 2015 on privately owned land and did not receive a demolition order. However, one day before the demolition, Israeli authorities hung a paper notice, giving them just 24 hours to evacuate the premises.

54

Jabal Mukaber

July 13

3

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished three structures for lacking building permits, including a home that was under construction, a concrete wall, and an agricultural structure comprising a horse stable, sitting room and toilet. The affected families said most of the structures had been built within the past six months on private land, noting they never received demolition orders.

55

Old City

July 18

4

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished four graves belonging to Palestinian families in the Old City of Jerusalem, in a cemetery near the Lion's Gate, for lacking building permits. According to the Islamic Cemetery Committee, the graves were rehabilitated in early July on land belonging to the local religious authority. The committee said the land was designated to be part of a settlement plan linking At-Tur with the Old City.

56

Silwan

July 19

4

Structures destroyed

15

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a car repair workshop, a car wash facility and two associated structures because they lacked building permits. The affected families said the structures were built around six years ago and provided their primary income source.

57

Beit Hanina

July 19

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a home that was under construction in Beit Hanina because it lacked a building permit. The affected family, including seven children, said they never received a stop-work order. They had already spent more than $10,000 to level the land and start construction.

58

Qalandiya

July 20

1

Structures destroyed

42

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a work yard because it lacked a building permit. The yard included a fence and seven containers - one used as an office, and the others for storing heavy machinery. During the demolition process, Israeli forces also damaged several vehicles and a fuel tank.

59

Silwan

July 24

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a room on top of a grocery shop because it lacked a building permit. The demolition displaced their son, who lived in the room. The family opted to self-demolish the room to avoid the costs of having it demolished by Israeli authorities.

60

Qalandiya

July 26

15

Structures destroyed

185

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished 15 structures - including both inhabited and under-construction homes - belonging to Palestinians from Qalandiya for lacking Israeli building permits. The demolitions displaced one family of six and affected 179 other people, including 85 children. During the demolition process, several Palestinians were injured during altercations with Israeli forces. Tarek Abdallah, along with his wife and four children, had just moved into their home weeks earlier. He said that Israeli soldiers gave them around 15 minutes to remove all of their belongings from the home before it was torn down.

Tarek Abdallah describes his family's loss

61

Ras al-Amud

July 26

1

Structures destroyed

10

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an under-construction house belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. The family's son, who was sharing an apartment with his parents, had intended to move into the home with his own wife and son the next month.

62

Issawiya

July 26

3

Structures destroyed

32

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house, a retaining wall and a car repair workshop for lacking building permits. The demolition process also caused damage to two gates and three water tanks on the same plot of land.

63

Ath-Thuri

July 27

1

Structures destroyed

3

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their home because it lacked a building permit. The family said the house was built in early 2014 at a cost of around $18,000. Soon after building the house, they were handed a demolition order, which they unsuccessfully challenged in court. The family subsequently moved in with relatives.

August

15 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Mohammed Alaq's home, demolished on August 16

64

Sur Bahir

August 1

2

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished the concrete foundations of a home and a concrete retaining wall because they lacked Israeli building permits. No demolition order was received, the family said.

65

Sur Bahir

August 2

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a work yard belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. The family said that the yard, built in 2011, was used to store machinery, zinc boards, plastic sewage tanks and other materials. During the demolition, Israeli authorities also bulldozed part of the land.

66

Sur Bahir

August 2

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished a car sales shop due to lack of a building permit. Built in 2015, the shop was comprised of an old bus that was used as an office, along with a fence and 600sq metres of open space. Israeli authorities also confiscated a car and an air conditioning unit. The shop had been the family's only source of income.

67

Ras al-Amud

August 9

1

Structures destroyed

1

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian man was forced to self-demolish his under-construction home because he did not have a building permit. The structure, built out of aluminium boards on the roof of his parents' house, had been intended as the man's new home after marriage.

68

Beit Jala

August 16

3

Structures destroyed

18

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished three residential structures in Beit Jala because they lacked building permits. The demolitions displaced three families, whose belongings were buried in the rubble. An Israeli bulldozer also destroyed olive and fig trees on the property, residents said. Among those displaced were Mohammed Alaq, 44, his wife and their five children. Alaq said that his father bought the land from a private owner in 1990, and the homes were built over the next few years. After the demolition, the men of the households began sleeping in tents at the demolition site, while the women moved in with family nearby.

Mohammed Alaq describes his family's loss

69

Jabal Mukaber

August 16

2

Structures destroyed

18

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a horse stable and retaining walls in the Jabal Mukaber area because they lacked building permits. During the demolition process, several gates, water tanks and trees on the property were also damaged.

70

Sur Bahir

August 30

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. Five people, including three children, were displaced. The family said they built the home in October 2015, spending around $80,000 in construction costs. The family hired a lawyer to fight the demolition, but an Israeli court ruled against them.

71

Silwan

August 30

4

Structures destroyed

31

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home and three retaining walls because the structures did not have building permits. The demolitions affected five households, comprising 31 people, including 19 children.

September

17 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Basma al-Qassas' home, demolished on September 27

72

Beit Safafa

September 1

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

A family was forced to self-demolish their mobile caravan because it lacked a building permit. The demolition displaced seven people, including five children. The family had moved into the caravan after their previous home was demolished in 2007.

73

Old City

September 6

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish a three-room home in the Old City of Jerusalem because it did not have a building permit. The home was constructed two decades ago, and the family paid thousands of dollars in fines for ignoring a previous demolition order. The demolition displaced a family of five, including one child.

74

Issawiya

September 6

2

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house foundation and a concrete fence because they did not have building permits. Work on the foundation began in August after the demolition of another partially built house belonging to one of the affected families. The families said they never received demolition orders.

75

Ath-Thuri

September 10

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities ordered a Palestinian family to self-demolish their donor-funded grocery shop because it lacked an Israeli building permit. The shop was built in 2014 on the roof of a storage space and became the main grocery store in the area, as well as the family's primary income source.

76

Jabal Mukaber

September 16

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their concrete-and-brick home because they did not have a building permit. The displaced family included six children. The family built the house in 2005 and received a demolition order the following year, but they spent the next decade unsuccessfully fighting it in court. The family opted for self-demolition to avoid the costs of having the home demolished by Israeli authorities.

77

Beit Hanina

September 20

1

Structures destroyed

4

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited residential house belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked an Israeli building permit. The demolition affected a family of four, including two children.

78

Sur Bahir

September 20

4

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

Israeli authorities demolished an agricultural tent, two storage spaces and a toilet belonging to a Palestinian family because they lacked building permits. During the demolition process, Israeli forces partially bulldozed three dunums of agricultural land planted with olive trees, leaving around 40 saplings under the rubble. The bulldozers also damaged a fence, an irrigation network and a water tank.

79

Beit Safafa

September 27

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished part of a restaurant belonging to a Palestinian family because they lacked a building permit. According to the family, the demolished portion had been built nearly two decades ago out of zinc and bricks. The same restaurant was partially demolished in January.

80

At-Tur

September 27

2

Structures destroyed

27

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished two residential buildings, comprising four housing units, due to a lack of building permits. The families said the buildings were constructed in 2011 at a cost of nearly $800,000 and immediately had demolition orders issued against them, but legal proceedings delayed the process.

81

Beit Hanina

September 27

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their home because it lacked a building permit. The house, built in 2013 on privately owned land, was immediately ordered to be demolished, but the family spent years fighting it in court. The family was also fined around $30,000 for building without a permit. The head of the household, who was unemployed, broke his leg during the demolition process.

82

Beit Jala

September 27

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an extension to an old house on the edges of the built-up area of the Gilo settlement because it lacked a building permit. The extension included a bedroom, sitting area, toilet and kitchen. Homeowners Said and Basma al-Qassas said they never received a demolition order, and Israeli forces did not allow them to empty the extension before it was destroyed. The demolition displaced their son, his wife and child, who were living in the extension; the trio was subsequently forced to move in with his wife's parents. A local company later donated to the Qassas family a container with a working toilet and sink, placing it on the demolition site next to their home.

Basma al-Qassas describes her family's loss

83

Beit Hanina

September 28

1

Structures destroyed

6

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their home because it lacked a building permit. The home, built in 2006 of bricks and concrete, was ordered demolished two years later, but the demolition was postponed in court for years. The family opted for self-demolition in order to avoid the costs of having it demolished by Israeli authorities.

October

5 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Fatma Jaafreh's home, demolished on October 26

84

Old City

October 3

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their home extension, built on the second floor of an old house, because they did not have a building permit. They opted for self-demolition to avoid the higher costs of having it demolished by Israeli authorities.

85

Silwan

October 26

1

Structures destroyed

27

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a two-storey residential building, which contained four apartment units, because it lacked a building permit. A grandmother, Fatma Jaafreh, along with her four sons and their families, lived in the units. The building was initially ordered to be demolished in 2007, but the family spent years fighting the order in court. During the demolition process, Israeli forces also damaged a fountain and a number of trees on the property, Jaafreh said. Some of her family members subsequently moved in with relatives, while others worked to build a temporary wooden living structure near the rubble heap.

Fatma Jaafreh describes her family's loss

86

Beit Hanina

October 26

3

Structures destroyed

14

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished three houses belonging to Palestinian families because they did not have building permits. According to the displaced families, demolition orders were received immediately after the homes were built or renovated in 2014, but they hired a lawyer who only succeeded in postponing the demolition for two years.

November

22 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Amar al-Hidreh's home, demolished on November 8

87

Old City

November 1

6

Structures destroyed

1

People displaced or affected

Six graves were destroyed because they lacked Israeli building permits. According to the Islamic Cemetery committee, the graves were rehabilitated in October 2016 on land belonging to the local religious authority. The land was designated as part of a settlement plan linking At-Tur with the Old City via cable car, the committee said.

88

Beit Hanina

November 2

1

Structures destroyed

14

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited home belonging to a Palestinian family because it lacked a building permit. According to the affected family, the two-storey home was built in 2015 and a demolition order was issued in early 2016.

89

At-Tur

November 8

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish the roof and walls of their home extension because it lacked a building permit. The extension was built in 2006, with concrete walls and an insulated roof made of metal panels. It was sometimes used as a sitting room or a parking space for the family's car.

90

At-Tur

November 8

1

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces partially demolished a home being built in At-Tur because it lacked a permit. According to Amar al-Hidreh, who was affected by the demolition, the family had been planning to move from temporary accommodation into their new home around the time that it was destroyed. Hidreh, who had helped build the home, said the demolition was particularly painful for him. Israeli bulldozers also demolished dozens of olive, lemon and orange trees on the property.

Amar al-Hidreh describes his family's loss

91

Issawiya

November 8

1

Structures destroyed

20

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited, two-storey building because it lacked a permit. Three households, including 15 children, were affected by its destruction. Built in 2013, the building included commercial storage space on the first floor and two residential units on the second floor. The family that owned the building said they were planning to move in soon. Most of the stored merchandise on the first floor, which included cosmetics, was buried under the rubble.

92

Wadi al-Joz

November 8

1

Structures destroyed

11

People displaced or affected

An under-construction home belonging to a Palestinian family was demolished because it lacked an Israeli building permit. The family said they received approval for part of the home, but not for a second section consisting of additional storage space and apartments.

93

Jabal Mukaber

November 13

2

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish two houses because they did not have building permits. The family received demolition orders in 2008 and appointed a lawyer, who delayed the process until this year. The family opted to demolish the homes themselves to avoid the costs of Israeli authorities carrying out the work.

94

Ath-Thuri

November 15

2

Structures destroyed

3

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an equestrian facility and a wooden agricultural structure belonging to a Palestinian family because they lacked building permits. Bulldozers also damaged a surrounding fence, dividing walls, an irrigation network and five saplings. According to the family, the equestrian facility, which included a storage room and stabling for seven horses, served as their only source of income. After the demolition, Jerusalem authorities issued an order to the family banning them from accommodating horses in the area.

95

Jabal Mukaber

November 15

1

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an empty shop belonging to a Palestinian family because it did not have a building permit. The shop had been used as a vegetable booth until late 2015, when the family left Jabal Mukaber.

96

Sur Bahir

November 15

1

Structures destroyed

1

People displaced or affected

The foundation for a mosque was destroyed because it lacked an Israeli building permit. According to a community representative, the concrete foundation was built in mid-2016 using local donations. The mosque was to serve around 100 people in the area.

97

Jabal Mukaber

November 15

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure belonging to a Palestinian family because it did not have a building permit. The structure included a wooden room, a wooden toilet and a concrete front yard. A water tank was also damaged during the demolition process.

98

At-Tur

November 22

1

Structures destroyed

12

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a concrete retaining wall belonging to the same Palestinian family in At-Tur whose home was targeted for demolition on November 8. Bulldozers also completed the demolition of the family's home.

99

Silwan

November 29

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a home extension because it lacked a building permit. The extension included two rooms, a bathroom and balcony. As a result, a mother and daughter who lived in the extension were displaced, while a father and six sons who lived in the original home were affected.

100

Jabal Mukaber

November 29

1

Structures destroyed

9

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home because it did not have a building permit. The house, built of bricks and zinc boards, was built three months earlier and swiftly ordered demolished. The family, which was living in a rented house, had planned to move into the home by the end of 2016.

101

Jabal Mukaber

November 29

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

A horse stable was demolished because it did not have a building permit. The stable, built in September 2016, consisted of four rooms for horses and a storage room. Israeli authorities confiscated one horse during the demolition process.

December

15 demolitions this month

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A 360° view of Saied Abassieh's home, demolished on December 6

102

Shuafat

December 5

1

Structures destroyed

7

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a kiosk belonging to a Palestinian family because it did not have a building permit. The kiosk, built in late 2015, was used to sell drinks and sandwiches, generating income for the family.

103

Beit Hanina

December 5

1

Structures destroyed

21

People displaced or affected

A large commercial structure, including a car wash and dealership, was partially demolished because it lacked an Israeli building permit. Jerusalem authorities also confiscated a caravan used as an office, three gates and some equipment. Built in 2002, the business was a primary source of income for the affected families.

104

Jabal Mukaber

December 6

1

Structures destroyed

11

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an under-construction home because it lacked a building permit. Saied Abassieh and his brother, who inherited the land from their father, said they completed the home in 2014 to house 12 people. The brothers spent two years fighting the demolition order in court without success. Abassieh had started to self-demolish the home to avoid the higher costs of having it done by Israeli authorities, but was surprised when Israeli forces arrived to complete the order. Abassieh said that his family had invested around $150,000 in the building after saving for 20 years. His family currently shares a single bedroom in a home that often floods in winter.

Saied Abassieh describes his family's loss

105

Ath-Thuri

December 6

1

Structures destroyed

3

People displaced or affected

An equestrian facility, rebuilt after it was destroyed in November, was again demolished because it did not have an Israeli building permit. Authorities confiscated a horse and bulldozed the land.

106

Ras al-Amud

December 7

1

Structures destroyed

33

People displaced or affected

Six Palestinian families were forced to self-demolish their balconies and seal off several rooms in an apartment building because they did not have building permits. Six people who slept in the rooms were displaced, and 27 people who lived in the building were affected.

107

Beit Hanina

December 14

1

Structures destroyed

2

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a building that was under construction because it did not have a permit. According to community sources, the owners of the building were out of the country at the time.

108

Sheikh Jarrah

December 19

1

Structures destroyed

5

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished an extension to a car dealership because it did not have a building permit. Two vehicles were confiscated, and the affected family lost their source of income.

109

Ath-Thuri

December 21

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a home belonging to a Palestinian family because it did not have a building permit. The family had built the home out of bricks and aluminium just a few months earlier.

110

Kafr Aqab

December 22

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

The Israeli army punitively demolished the inner walls and sealed off a home on the seventh floor of a nine-storey building. The demolition was punishment against the family of a man who was slain after he carried out an attack in Sheikh Jarrah on October 9, 2016, killing two Israelis. The man's family, a mother and five children, were displaced from the home, while his parents, who owned the house, were also affected.

111

Silwan

December 28

4

Structures destroyed

11

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished four agricultural structures because they did not have building permits. The structures included three caravans and one barracks made of bricks and zinc boards, all built between 2012 and 2013.

112

Silwan

December 28

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

Israeli forces demolished a shop extension because it did not have a building permit. The family says they never received a demolition order against the extension, which was built in 2000 onto a decades-old building.

113

Ras al-Amud

December 31

1

Structures destroyed

8

People displaced or affected

A Palestinian family was forced to partially self-demolish their only source of income, a small corner shop, because it did not have an Israeli building permit.

What is the future outlook?

As settlements encroach deeper into occupied East Jerusalem and pressure mounts on the area's Palestinian population, UNOCHA estimates that around 1,000 new housing units are being built without a permit each year, for a current total of more than 25,000. Annual demolition figures do not exceed two percent of what is considered illegal, suggesting that the cycle of unlicensed construction and Israeli demolition may continue indefinitely.
Factors such as the budget, political decisions and settlement plans may affect the demolition numbers in any given year - and the data in this project represents just a fraction of the toll that Israel's policy of home demolitions has wrought throughout the occupied West Bank over the years.

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Reporters: Megan O'Toole and Nigel Wilson
Producer: Megan O'Toole
Source for demolition data: UNOCHA
Source for mapping data: www.peacenow.org
Developer: Mohammed Haddad
Designer: Konstantinos Antonopoulos


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