Barkat. To seal house
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Beit Yehonatan
Photo: Ata Awisat

Barkat says will seal Beit Yehonatan, 200 Arab homes

Mayor to implement sealing orders on illegal structures built by both Jews and Arabs in east Jerusalem

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has informed State Prosecutor Moshe Lador that he plans to implement the sealing order for Beit Yehonatan in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, which was built without a permit in 2004 and which houses Jewish residents.


However, Barkat added that he would also implement orders against 200 illegal structures built by Arabs in the area, so as not to act in a discriminatory manner.


In the letter Barkat sent to Lador on Wednesday he criticized the “discriminatory enforcement” in east Jerusalem and said the fate of Beit Yehonatan would have to be shared by the 200 Arab homes in the neighborhood, which were built illegally and had to be torn down.


“Although the sealing order, in light of the dozens of demolition orders which are not being enforced, constitutes, in my eyes, a selective and discriminatory enforcement, Jerusalem Municipality will act according to court orders and implement the sealing orders on Beit Yehonatan as well as other standing orders,” Barkat wrote to Lador.


“The municipality will seal Beit Yehonatan and raze all of the illegal structures – more than 200 structures on which the court has issued demolition orders.”


Beit Yehonatan has been home to Jewish residents since 2007, and they continue to live there despite the conflict surrounding them.


“Seeing these factors as ‘wrongful political intervention’ misses the target and may cause publicly elected officials to refrain from expressing an opinion on issues that have dire consequences,” the mayor wrote.


Barkat wrote to the state prosecutor in response to the latter’s letter of condemnation, which focuses on the mayor’s refusal to enforce court orders.


“I was sorry to hear that even at such a time as this, the city of Jerusalem has not yet made sure that court orders – in all of their forms, including four Supreme Court orders – are honored and carried out in this affair,” Lador wrote to Barkat.


The state prosecutor explained that Beit Yehonatan “was built from beginning to end with total disrespect for planning and construction rules, by those who refuse to reveal their identity and only reveal their causes – the demonstrators who demonstrate ‘presence’ in the area by residing there”.


The municipality’s Opposition Chairman Meir Turgeman filed a police complaint against the mayor last month for refusing to carry out court orders and for interfering with legal proceedings. “The mayor is belittling the law and the court,” he told Ynet.


But on Wednesday officials at the municipality lauded Barkat for his decision. Barkat’s deputy, Yosef “Pepe” Alalo (Meretz), told Ynet, “I am glad the right conclusions were reached, and it’s too bad we had to overcome so many obstacles on the way. It’s time we began supplying residents of east Jerusalem with viable living options.”


The ‘Ir Amim’ (City of Nations) organization condemned the decision, and said Barkat was adopting a policy similar to the settlers’ “price tag policy”, by which every illegal outpost evacuated elicits a response. “We hope Barkat is considering the local and international significance of such an extreme act,” the organization said in a statement.


The Peace Now movement said that "the Jerusalem mayor has turned into a collaborator with Israel's most extreme right-wing organizations."


פרסום ראשון: 02.03.10, 21:05
 new comment
This will delete your current comment