Monday, March 23, 2009

Support call to end home demolitions in East Jerusalem

From B'Tselem:

On March 4, during her trip to Israel and the West Bank, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton surprised many by making a strong statement against the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

Calling the practice "…unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations [Israel] entered into under the roadmap," Clinton said she would raise the issue with the Israeli government. Click here to send President Obama an e-mail telling him you support Secretary Clinton's statement and urging him to do everything he can to support her efforts to end the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

Israeli policy regarding housing in East Jerusalem has created an impossible situation for Palestinians. Israeli law and bureaucracy make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain the permits necessary to build or add on to existing homes to accommodate the needs of growing families.

Severe overcrowding and no hope of obtaining a building permit lead many Palestinians to build without permits. They do so knowing they will forever live in fear that, after investing their life savings to build, their home may be demolished.

From 2004 through 2008, 402 houses were demolished in East Jerusalem for being built without permits, which are rarely granted to Palestinians. Click here for more background on the discriminatory practices in planning and building in the city.

Israel has issued demolition orders for an entire neighborhood in the East Jerusalem village of Silwan. This is one of the issues which spurred Secretary Clinton's statement. Click here for more background on Silwan.

The policy of home demolition stands in blatant contradiction to Israel's commitment to equality and human rights. The demolitions leave families homeless, and increase feelings of hostility toward Israel. Please let President Obama know that you support Secretary Clinton's statement and urge the whole administration to follow these words up with actions to ensure Israel's respect for human rights.