Israeli forces deliver notices of destruction to Palestinian refugees in Shu'fat
(Jerusalem) Maisa Abu Ghazaleh
Tuesday, 03 April 2007
Ringing in the Jewish Passover found Israeli forces storming East Jerusalem's Shu'fat Refugee Camp in the middle of the night and telling families at gunpoint that they would again be refugees.
At dawn in the Ras Al Shahadah neighborhood in the southern part of Shu'fat Camp, Israeli soldiers told the families that they have two weeks to leave their homes, claiming the refugees were the ones living illegally on lands occupied by the Israelis.
Israeli lawyer Eitan Gabay, and translator to Arabic, said that the owners of plot number 116 30571 had constructed their homes in the refugee camp illegally, and therefore must evacuate within 14 days. The issuing date was on 29 March, and withheld due to closed Israeli offices for the Jewish Passover.
Israeli forces chose 3:00 am to invade the refugee camp while residents were sleeping. Israeli soldiers went so far as to videotape the homes and terrified families. They caused fear and panic among the population, particularly the children. Citizens Housing reported that 300 Palestinians would be thrown out of their apartments.
Resident Abu Ayyash told PNN, “I was surprised after my husband had already gone to work for the early shift when the occupation forces surrounded the house and behaved violently while my children and I were sleeping. We were dismayed, afraid. A number of soldiers wearing black clothing, the special forces, and intelligence officers burst in with a video camera and were screaming that they would destroy our home.”
The family, whose eldest child is five years old, has already paid 18,000 Jordanian Dinars for the housing. They live on the third floor of the apartment building, all of which covers 135 square meters. They have three rooms.
She said, “We continue to work day and night to pay for this house. We pay in installments. This is a completely unjust situation.”
Sixty-three year old Mahmoud Srnedeh paid 4,000 JD over the past four years after buying his home for an initial price of 20,000 JD. He is married with five children. His youngest is 16.
“I was surprised at the danger I found at my door. We went with the lawyer, Majid Ghnaim, to prove ownership of our house.”
A 50 year old resident on the third floor said that he bought his house for 26,000 JD. “When I heard the sound, the pounding on the doors, and saw the soldiers asking for identification, it was strange. They were videotaping and did not raid the house.” His children range in age from five years to 16.
Another woman in the building on the second floor with seven children found an eviction notice on the door. “We have been saving for years to pay for this house. No one will leave. We are already refugees, where else can we go?"
The lawyers point out the Israeli violations of human rights, international law and United Nations resolutions, but this does not change the situation.