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Affidavit No. 7164/2012

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Riyad Jamil Muhammad Ju’bas, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 080158447, born on 23 August 1956, a retired worker, and a resident of the As Sal’a area, Al Mukabbir Mount town, Jerusalem governorate, would like to declare the following:

I have a family of nine sons and daughters and am grandfather of 18 grandchildren. I live in the As Sal’a area in the town of Al Mukabbir Mounts in the city of Jerusalem occupied in 1967.

In 1998, I constructed the house in which I now live. I built it on the debris of a former house, which I had constructed in 1995 and which the Israeli occupying forces demolished in 1998. The Israeli Ministry of the Interior demolished my old home, claiming that it had been built without the required construction licence. The Ministry also alleged that construction licences were not available for the piece of land on which I built my home, because it was located in a “green area” where no construction is permitted. I estimate I suffered a loss of about ILS 100,000 at the time.

Immediately after my home had been destroyed, I decided to build a new one. I needed a home to live in. Other than my home which had been demolished, I did not have a house to live in. At that time, my family was comprised of 10 members. I built the new house of bricks, wood, and gypsum because I did not have enough money. I was also in hurry to secure a shelter for my children because we were living in a tent.

Still, the Israeli occupying authorities continue to threaten to demolish my home, because I built it without the required construction licence. I was afraid that my new home would be demolished like the previous one. Therefore, I applied for a construction licence at the Jerusalem Municipality of the Israeli occupying authorities. My neighbours and I also submitted an application to convert our neighbourhood from a “green area” to a “yellow area”, in which construction would be permitted. I followed up on all necessary procedures to obtain a construction licence. In this context, I paid several instalments, which I estimate at ILS 3,000. However, seven years after we submitted the application, neither my neighbours nor I received a clear answer from the Municipality. My neighbours and I did not receive written replies from the Municipality. All we got were verbal replies, stating that we should wait. After all these extended years of waiting, I am sure that the only clear answer we will get would be that the Municipality of the Israeli occupying authorities will not grant us construction licences in the As Sal’a area.

In 1999, the Local Affairs Court of the Israeli occupying authorities imposed a fine of ILS 48,000 on me because I had committed a violation by starting construction without a licence. I was a simple worker and paid the fine with greatest difficulty. As soon as I completed payment of that fine, however, the same court imposed another similar fine (ILS 48,000) in 2009. I still pay ILS 800 a month until this day. I find it extremely difficult pay because I suffer from heart and bone diseases. I no longer work.

At around 10:00 am today, 14 February 2012, when I was at home, four Israeli cars, including police officers and employees of the Ministry of the Interior, raided the area. I realised that the employees were from the Ministry of the Interior because they had frequently visited the area and took photographs of Palestinian houses. I knew one of them; his name was Yuval. He had light black hair and was of medium build. Some police officers climbed onto the roof. Ministry of the Interior staff, as well as other men, went inside and took photographs of the house. They inquired about residents in the house, as well as about the names and number of my children. It should be noted that the police officers did not show me any search warrant when they entered the house. Several minutes later, the police officers and the Ministry staff left the house.

This incident has aroused my concern that the Israeli occupying authorities might demolish my home. Yesterday, the Jerusalem Municipality of the Israeli occupying authorities demolished a Palestinian home and other installations in Jerusalem. If my home is demolished, my family and I will be homeless.

 

This is my declaration, which I hereby sign, 14 February 2012

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 7164/2012
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 14 February 2012
  • Name: Riyad Jamil Muhammad Ju’bas