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Published on Sep 12, 2017
(7 Sep 2017) LEADIN: Home demolitions continue in East Jerusalem. One Palestinian owner rebuilt his apartment within days, only for Israeli bulldozers to knock it down for a second time. STORYLINE: Abdel Karim Abu Sneneh shovels what is left of his home. The apartment block in Silwan, East Jerusalem, was razed by Israeli bulldozers on August 15. They demolished it because it was built without a permit. However, for Palestinians such as Abu Sneneh, getting a permit is an almost impossible task as Israeli authorities hardly ever give them. Abu Sneneh is a builder so has been quick to start laying bricks to rebuild his home. He insists he has tried to get the correct paperwork for the apartment but says it is a lengthy and costly process that is often unsuccessful. "This is an act of ethnic cleansing. For the past 15 years we've been working to obtain permits for our homes, this home was built 15 years ago, but the municipality does not allow building at all," he says. Men and women come to help him with the construction. Abu Sneneh estimates it will take just a few days to rebuild. Khaled al-Zir, another Silwan resident and a victim of home demolitions, has come to support his neighbour. "Our presence here is to show our rejection of this barbaric policy against us and our children and our homes," he says. The basic structure of a new home is built within just a few days. But it doesn't last long. On August 22, the Israeli bulldozers come back for a second time and demolished it again. "We say to all the free people of the world and the honest people of the world: we ask them where shall we live? Are we to throw our children and women out on the streets?" says Abu Sneneh. He has no plans to rebuild for now. He lives in another home nearby. Home demolitions are frequent in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to the UN, 111 homes were demolished in East Jerusalem alone so far this year. The UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs says an additional 214 homes belonging to Palestinians were demolished in areas A and B of the West Bank in 2017, displacing 495 civilians.