House Demolition Zarifa Abbasi (f), aged 76
Mohammad Abbasi (m), aged 78, her husband
The Israeli authorities are preparing to demolish the house of an elderly couple in East Jerusalem, on the grounds that
it was built without a permit. Mohammad and Zarifa Abbasi are in poor health, and there are serious concerns that if
they were made homeless this could have dire consequences.
The Jerusalem Municipality issued an order for the destruction of their home, in the Silwan neighbourhood, earlier this
year. The couple have attempted to block the order through the courts, so far without success. They may have one more
court hearing at which to challenge the demolition order, to be held later this year. They have little hope of success.
The couple suffer from health problems including rheumatism, hypertension, chronic heart disease diabetes, osteoporosis
and bronchitis. At this time of year the temperature in Jerusalem can fall to near freezing, and this could have serious
consequences for an elderly couple made homeless.
Earlier this year the Municipality announced that it was intending to destroy 88 houses in Silwan. After international
pressure the Municipality said it had put the demolition on hold, though it has not formally cancelled the demolition
The authorities frequently demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Occupied Territories on the
grounds that they have been built without a permit. Yet it is impossible for most Palestinians in East Jerusalem to
obtain permits to build a home on their own land.
In the past two year such demolitions have increased. More than 160 Palestinian homes have been demolished in East
Jerusalem since the beginning of 2004, leaving more than 500 people homeless. In the five-year period 1999 to 2003 the
total number of demolitions was around 240.
Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli authorities have pursued a policy of limiting new construction
in the Palestinian neighbourhoods. The expropriation by Israel of large areas of Palestinian land left most Palestinian
areas in and around East Jerusalem with little or no land on which to build. Where there is land, it is not permitted to
build, because much of the privately owned land has been zoned as “green land”. Attempts by Palestinians to have their
land re-zoned so that it can be used for building homes have invariably failed. At the same time Israel has been
building large settlements (which are illegal under international law) for the exclusive use of Israeli Jewish citizens
on expropriated Palestinian land in the area. While Palestinians homes are still being demolished because they were
built without a permit - permits which are virtually impossible to obtain - illegal Israeli settlements continue to be
built and expanded in East Jerusalem. Demolitions of homes of Israeli Jews built without permit are unheard of.
According to international law East Jerusalem is part of the Occupied Territories and its annexation by Israel is in
violation of international law
Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Hebrew or your own language: expressing concern that
the Jerusalem Municipality has issued an order to demolish the home of Mohammad and Zarifa Abbasi, in the Silwan
neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, and calling on the Mayor to cancel the demolition order; calling on him to cancel all
other outstanding orders to demolish unlicensed houses in East Jerusalem; calling for a moratorium on demolitions of
Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem until such time as planning and building laws are amended in a manner that complies
with international standards.
Mayor of Jerusalem
1 Safra Square
Fax: +972 2 629 6014
Diplomatic representatives of Israel accredited to New Zealand, salutation: Dear Madam
Mrs Orna Sagiv
First Secretary and Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
Embassy of Israel
6 Turrana Street
Canberra ACT 2600
Fax: +61-2-6273 4273
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the AINZ urgent action team if you are sending appeals after 17 January
2006, email email@example.com
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