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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Gaza government to demolish 75 houses built on public lands

Gaza government to demolish 75 houses built on public lands
Published 12 February 2013
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=564710

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Members of the Abu Amrah family in Gaza City
demonstrated Tuesday in front of offices of the Palestinian Legislative
Council protesting a decision by the Hamas-run government to demolish 75
houses belonging to the family in the al-Rimal neighborhood.

The government says it decided to demolish the houses because they were
illegally built on public lands. The demolition is scheduled to be conducted
Wednesday morning.

"We are refugees and we have been living in this area for tens of years,"
Abu Salah Abu Amra told Ma'an. He highlighted that the PLC in Gaza suggested
five new areas where the families could choose to move.

But he said all these areas are underpopulated border areas and have no
services. He urged officials in the Gaza government to suggest moving the
families to populated areas, preferably not far from where they live now. He
noted that it would be very difficult to send their children to schools if
they live in remote areas.

Another resident, Hazim Abu Hmeid, who lives in the area slated for
demolition, appealed to President Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza premier Ismail
Haniyeh to annul the demolition highlighting that 75 families will be left
homeless.

"Demolition will take place Wednesday morning, and when our children come
back from school, they will not know where to go because by the time they
arrive, their houses will have disappeared. The only place they will have is
the street in this cold winter time."

A spokeswoman in the Gaza land department, Amal Shamali, told Ma'an that the
alternative places the government suggested are populated and have services.

She pointed out that her department contacted dignitaries from the Abu Amrah
family several months ago, and suggested that they move to either al-Andalus
neighborhood in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, or to the Beisan housing
project in the north. They opposed moving to Beisan, and so it was decided
to move the families to al-Andalus neighborhood.

Months ago, the Gaza land department demolished another area belonging to
the same family, and offered the residents tracts of land in the northern
Gaza Strip to be bought by installments. Some families agreed while 36
families refused the offer.

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