Watchdog reports record number of Palestinian home demolitions in East Jerusalem this year

The Ir Amim watchdog reports that 2020 has already set a new yearly record for the number of Palestinian home demolitions in East Jerusalem, with 129 units demolished between January and October.

Since the watchdog began collecting data in 2000, the previous high was in 2016, when 123 housing units were demolished during the entire year.

The municipality has said that it is merely enforcing laws against illegal construction. Palestinian residents of the capital have long argued they often have no choice but to build illegally, as little construction is authorized in their neighborhoods.

According to Ir Amim, detailed plans for over 21,000 housing units were advanced in Jerusalem in 2019, but less than 8 percent were in Palestinian neighborhoods, even though Palestinians make up 38% of the capital’s population.

“The record for home demolitions coming specifically during the time of the coronavirus crisis shows the priority of the government: even a pandemic can’t prevent it from continuing to issue and carry out home demolitions,” Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at Ir Amim, says in a statement.

— Aaron Boxerman