The official reason given for the house demolition was that the house was built without the required permit from the municipality of Jerusalem, which annexed the land in 1967. Under international law the municipality has no jurisdiction over the village of Al Walaja. Under the 1949 Geneva Convention the demolition any civilian buildings in an area of military occupation is forbidden. This action is therefore a war crime.
Since the illegal annexation of the land, non of the houses built to accommodate natural population growth have been granted the required permits. The result of this discriminatory policy is that Fifty-three of the surviving Eighty-five houses in the village have been issued with demolition orders and have not been offered any compensation. Twenty-three further houses have already been demolished over the last decade.
Israel's real motivation for demolishing the houses is that they intended to expand the illegal settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo which are to the east and the south of the village. The demolitions are therefore an act of ethnic cleansing and part of a wider process of population transfer that has been well documented by the UN but largely ignored by the outside world.
The house was not occupied by the family at the time of demolition. They were forced to abandon their new home in 2004 as a result of the municipality's refusal to connect the house to electricity for less than Fifty thousand Israeli Shekels (5 times the average annual income of a Palestinian family.) Since then the family have resided in Aida refugee camp along with thousands of other victims of ethnic cleansing from 1948, 1967 and from a multitude of other minor purges that took place over the following years.
House demolitions are just one of many breaches of international law which the Israeli state carries out on a regular basis. Some are because the house was built without a permit on land intended for an illegal settlement. Many however are demolished as a form of collective punishment for the families of Palestinian fighters and bombers. As this policy forces thousands of children to grown up in the squalid conditions found in the refugee camps, it is frankly hard to see why the Israeli state believes this draconian policy will deter further attacks.