Palestinian houses are often impressive affairs. Constructed of stone or concrete blocks, they may be two, three or four storeys high, built to accommodate growing and extended families. Their solidity reflects the importance of family life.
In the Occupied West Bank the Israeli authorities seldom issue permits for the indigenous population to extend their houses, let alone build new structures. In desperation, the home owner is forced to build "illegally". Then, as one of their strategies to ethnically cleanse the land of its occupants, the Israelis order the demolition of the house.
Last week the imposing, four storey home of Abu Majed Eisha in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian community close to East Jerusalem, was destroyed with explosives while his family, friends and supporters from the international community looked on, helpless. His crime was to have built additional floors onto the existing two storey home.
Israel has destroyed 18,000 Palestinian homes since it occupied the West Bank in 1967. A further 22,000 houses in East Jerusalem have demolition orders on them. As part of their agenda of land acquisition the occupiers aim to make life unendurable for the Palestinians, thus forcing them to leave and paving the way for the settlement of yet more Jewish colonists from the United States, Europe, Canada, Ethiopia and yes, shamefully, Australia.