The Hamas government has issued an order to demolish 75 “illegally” built homes belonging to Palestinian Authority Arabs in a Gaza City neighborhood. There has been no comment from the United Nations.
Members of the Abu Amrah family – affected by the order – protested the decision on Tuesday in a demonstration in front of the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
The houses, located in the al-Rimal neighborhood, are scheduled to be destroyed this morning (Wednesday).
Hamas said the houses were being demolished because they were “illegally built on public lands,” Ma’an reported. The families claimed that alternative sites suggested by the PLC were remote areas with no services, a claim Hamas denied.
Gaza “land department” spokeswoman Amal Shamali told Ma’an that her department contacted family leaders from the Abu Amrah clan several months ago and suggested they move to a neighborhood in Rafah, in southern Gaza, or to a housing project in the north. Since they refused to move to the north, the government decided to move the families to Rafah.
The Hamas government apparently demolished another group of homes owned by the same clan several months ago, offering instead to move them to an area in northern Gaza – at a price. The families were given the option to pay in installments. Some agreed, and others did not.
“We are refugees and have been living in this area of tens of years,” family spokesperson Abu Salah Abu Amra said.
A second targeted resident, Hazim Abu Hmeid, worried about his children and appealed to Ramallah-based Fatah PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
“When our children return from school [today] they will not know where to go because by the time they arrive, their houses will have disappeared,” Hmeid said. “The only place they will have is the street in this cold winter time.”
Numerous demolitions of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria have been carried out over the past decade, even as the number of illegally built Arab homes in those regions rises exponentially, without comment or consequence.