Palestinian family in Lydd faces home demolition

The Naqib family has been living on their land since before 1948. That, however, didn’t stop the municipality from serving them with an arbitrary demolition order. 

After a relative period of calm in which the local authorities have refrained from demolishing homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Lydd (“Lod” in Hebrew, “Lydda” in English) Municipality has returned to threatening residents with demolition. The war in Gaza has ended, and now the authorities have returned to their day-to-day war against Arab citizens.

The aftermath of a home demolition in Lydd, Israel, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
The aftermath of a home demolition in Lydd, Israel, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The home belongs to the Naqib family and was built on land that they own, according to the state land registry. The demolition order, which stated that the house was built illegally, was served back in November. The city announced it would carry out the demolition on Sunday, when police arrived on the scene.

Attorney Qais Nasser submitted an urgent appeal to a district court on behalf of the family, along with a request to delay the demolition. The court rejected the request, but delayed the demolition until today (Sunday) at 1 p.m., in order to give the family time to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court. UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): The Supreme Court has delayed the demolition until Thursday.

The Naqib family lives on land near the Ganei Aviv neighborhood, which was expropriated from Palestinian families in a procedure whose legality has been in doubt ever since. The family has lived on the land since before 1948, and the local urban building plan gave a green light for building the new neighborhood years ago. The city, however, has yet to approve a master plan, and even destroyed a house in the 1990s.

According to a map of the urban building plan, one can see that the house was built on land slated for residential construction. Thus, the city’s decision regarding “illegal construction” seems especially arbitrary:

The Lyd master plan. (photo: Said Abu Hamed)
The Lyd master plan. (photo: Said Abu Hamed)

Should the Supreme Court reject the request to delay the order, the city will be able to demolish the house at any moment. According to a member of the Naqib family, the order is part of a general trend of political harassment. “The city claims that the house is in the way of the road,” he told +972. “But according to the urban building plan, one can see clearly the house was built on land that was previously approved. How can you view the city’s decision as anything but political harassment?”

Local activists have already met to discuss further actions to prevent the threatened demolition, including mass demonstrations and establishing a protest tent.

Palestinian family in Lydd erects a tent where their home used to be, after it was demolished by Israeli authorities, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Palestinian family in Lydd erects a tent where their home used to be, after it was demolished by Israeli authorities, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

According to activists nearly 80 percent of Palestinians in Lydd live in “illegal conditions” according to the state’s definition, due to the fact that their homes do not have building permits. This situation allows authorities to use the threat of demolition against a large part of the local population, in accordance with the needs of the political establishment.

Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call here.

Related:
House demolitions: Zionism’s constant background noise
Punitive home demolitions are racist — and just plain wrong
Rights groups to High Court: Home demolitions are collective punishment

Newsletter banner 6 -540