Success stories

Mohammad Julani

Mohammad Julani added a second floor to his parent’s home, so that he could have an apartment for his wife and children. He applied for a permit with the Municipality of Jerusalem, but it was rejected, but due to a lack of housing options, he opted to build this addition regardless of the fact that he did not have a permit.

The municipality began to fine him for illegal construction. The first fine was 36,000 NIS, which As Mohammad was disabled and unemployed; he gathered money from his friends and family to pay this fine, causing him to incur multiple debts.

When Mohammad failed to demolish his own home, his fourth non-compliance order,the court ruled that he had to pay for the Municipality to demolish his home or be sent to prison.

CAC intervened and on 7 October 2013, CAC managed to reduce Mohammad’s fines from 30,000 NIS to 20,000 NIS, which he will finance over the course of 3.5 years at a rate equivalent to 25% of his monthly income, and helped Mohammad avoid a prison sentence and/or community service.

However, his house was still considered to be illegal by the Municipality and therefore under threat of demolition. As Mohammad cannot afford rent in Jerusalem, and could not move to the West Bank due to fear of losing his permanent residency status, he was still in the same difficult situation.

Considering the difficulties that Palestinians face in terms of legally building in Jerusalem, this case was considered a success.

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), from 1967 through 2010, the Municipality of Jerusalem has only granted building permits for 3,900 Palestinian housing units, while during the same period it granted 51,000 permits for Israelis living in Jerusalem.

Due to this biased policy, there are currently 20,000 Palestinian housing units in East Jerusalem, which do not have permits. These buildings are constantly paying fines and legal fees to delay the inevitable demolitions of their homes, forcible displacement, and imprisonment.

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