The rubble of Sophia's Jerusalem home after demolition

Credit: Atta Awisat

Blog Post

Sophia’s World Comes Crashing Down

Sophia Fawaz Abdo, 10, was left homeless on November 30, 2020, when her father, Fawaz Abdo, was forced by the Jerusalem municipality to demolish the home he had built with his own hands in 2014 on the pretext that it was built without a permit.

The home, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkabir, was 100 square meters and had three bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. Six people including a child, Sophia, lived in the home.

In 2019, the court ruled that the home had to be demolished and fined Abdo NIS 60,000 ($18,000), which he continues to pay off monthly in the amount of NIS 750 each month. Like many Palestinian Jerusalemites, Abdo had to demolish the home himself to avoid paying additional hefty fees that the municipality would have charged to do it. 

Sophia coped as best she could with the trauma of this cataclysmic event in her life, as shown here.


Sophie does her homework in the rubble of her demolished house in Jabal Mukabbir, Jerusalem

Sophia Abdo, 10, does her homework on the bathtub of her family home in East Jerusalem, a few days after its demolition, which took place on November 30, 2020.


Atta Awisat

Sophia Abdo, 10, does her best to cope in the tent her family has been left to live in following the demolition of their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukabbir. Her father, seen entering the tent in the video, erected it on the rubble of the demolished home.


Atta Awisat

Her family eventually moved in with her father’s brother, photographer Atta Awisat, whose family of 11 people has a much smaller home of 60 square meters in the same neighborhood. Awisat shared these images with Jerusalem Story.