Zahalka: Evacuating Silwan will lead to intifada
Disagreement between Jerusalem mayor and municipal legal advisor regarding structure in east of city discussed in Knesset Internal Affairs Committee. MK Orlev addresses crisis with Americans, says, 'All Israeli governments have built throughout Jerusalem'
The uproar surrounding Beit Yehonatan in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood reached the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. During a discussion of illegal construction in the capital's eastern neighborhood on Sunday, Jerusalem Municipality's legal advisor Attorney Yossi Havilio made a scathing attack on the city's conduct on the matter.
Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka joined Havilio in his criticism and warned that evacuation plans for Silwan will likely ignite the entire region.
"The courts had their say in three cases and emphasized that if the order against Beit Yehonatan is not carried out, the rule of law will be trampled and the anarchy will ensue. On the contrary, the fact that the order has not been carried out until now is selective enforcement," said Havilio.
In a document he distributed to the committee members, Havilio reiterated the harsh claims he made against Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat asserting that his conduct in fact is in violation of the law.
"By law, the court ruling, and the attorney general's instructions, political intervention in enforcement measures is forbidden. The order on Beit Yehonatan was not carried out because of intervention on the part of the mayor and the municipality's director general. This is not arguable. This is not lawful, and is likely to reward criminals and encourage building violations," Havilio stated.
Balad Chairman Zahalka said, "You say that there is one law in Jerusalem? The city is occupied territory according to international law and any occupying state is responsible to the public under its control. The state of education in east Jerusalem is the worst out of those Palestinians have to deal with all over the world. There is a dropout rate 50% higher than any other place. If you are speaking of law enforcement, start with a mandatory education law."
Zahalka took the opportunity of the discussion in order to address the tumult created by the Silwan evacuation plan. "I suggest acting level-headedly on the issue of house demolitions. Any attempt to carry out these plans will lead to a third intifada and will ignite the area. The settlers in east Jerusalem have more rights than any Palestinian resident."
Habayit Hayehudi Faction Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev also addressed the political situation surrounding construction in Jerusalem: "The US knows that all Israeli governments, without exception, built throughout Jerusalem, especially in Jewish neighborhoods."
Orlev claimed, "Clinton's reprimand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for construction in Ramat Shlomo is a gross violation of the Americans' customary policy, which has never rebuked Israel for building in Jerusalem."