Inhams houseOne of the 88 Silwan orders is on Inham’s house. She invites us for coffee in her impeccably furnished three-bedroomed home. It has a patio with a beautiful pink bougainvillea, and a painting over the door proudly announcing her husband has been to Mecca. She first received a demolition order after the house was built in 1986 and since then has lived with the fear of it being bulldozed any time. Although she has been charged municipal taxes, and has twice paid heavy fines and lawyers’ fees, the order has never been revoked. After several postponements, she now awaits what she feels is ultimately a political decision on the home she is so proud of.

Demolition and settlementFurther up the hill, we visit two sisters, Manal and Amani, married to two brothers. They lived in their husbands’ parents’ house until their growing families made the overcrowding unbearable. They borrowed money to build, got demolition orders, paid the heavy fines, but the orders stood. Last year, municipal bulldozers’ crushed Manal’s house without warning. This year Amani’s husband painfully self-demolished the house he had built himself, to avoid paying for the bulldozer. The sisters and their six children are back at square one with their in-laws, saddled with a big debt, and only the memory of a brief independent life. This is precisely why Israeli-only ‘natural growth’ is so discriminatory. To make it even more painful, on the hill above the demolished houses, is the new Israeli settlement of Nof Zion on sale in the US for diaspora Jews.

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