A Palestinian family cry after their home was demolished by Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina on February 5, 2013. Although East Jerusalem belongs to Palestinians, they have to obtain building permits from Israel — an almost impossible task — as Israel continues its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in its goal to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities claim that the building was constructed without proper permits and that its structure was not sound. The 33-member family says it was waiting to receive permits.

Palestinians also struggle to meet the required conditions to apply for a permit. For example, the cost of obtaining permits can be as much as the cost of construction of the actual building.

Not only do they rarely issue permits to Palestinians to build on their own land, Israel continues building settlements on said land. Approximately 192,000 and 330,000 Jewish settlers live illegally in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestine. The Jewish-only settlements in which they live are illegal under international law. Furthermore, the Israeli government assists Israeli settlers in taking over Palestinian homes.

Israel refuses to halt settlement construction as a precondition to resume peace talks.

Photographs: Ammar Awad (Reuters) / Bernat Armangue (AP)

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