Construction happens all around the world with new roads being built and old buildings demolished. This is how cities progress and develop across time. However, people might hold different perspectives if the old buildings that are being destroyed are their own homes.
At this moment, Palestinians living in the area of occupied East Jerusalem, known as Jabal al-Mukaber, are living under constant threat as there are plans to build the “American Road” on the ruins of their homes. According to the road plans, approximately 57 homes, both old and new, will have to be demolished to make way for the road which will be more than 11km long with a width of 70 meters. This road will eventually leave more than 500 people without homes and isolate the Palestinians both geographically and economically from their schools and medical centers. Despite all the damage and loss this project will cause the Palestinians currently living in this area, it is being promoted as a benefit to the people in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians believe that this is clearly deceptive as it has neglected to mention the demolition of homes and the loss of connection between the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Likewise, according to the Palestinian residents living in Jabal al-Mukaber, the road serves no one except for the Israelis and the Israeli settlements near their residential areas. Many people believe that the real purpose behind this road construction is to connect the illegal Israeli settlements, north, south and east of the city. Apparently, the road construction has already begun which have left many residents in fear for their homes. Several of them have contacted the Israeli municipality and have managed with difficulty to receive an extension on their house demolition for approximately five years. However, in order to maintain this extension, they have to re-apply every year for the extension to remain valid. Some residents express their worries as to whether they can keep this extension for the promised five years. “But, still, we do not know whether we will be allowed to remain in our homes over the next five years.” The road plans clearly indicate that any homes that stand in the way of the road will be destroyed.
Ever since its occupation in 1967, the Israelis have frequently used the demolition of homes as a method of punishment for the Palestinians. To date, approximately 48,000 Palestinian housing structures have been destroyed for various reasons from building without permits and acts of punishment.