Jerusalem razed five more illegal Arab structures on Tuesday, continuing a policy that flies in the face of U.S. President Barack Obama’s demands that Israel keep its hands off the illegal construction while freezing building for Jews. The Netanyahu government has rejected the freeze in the capital.
Tuesday’s demolitions were carried out without incident in Arab neighborhoods, including Jabal Mukhabar, home of several Arab terrorists who carried out attacks while bearing Israeli identity cards.
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat approved the action with a court ruling against the illegal buildings, many of which are found throughout eastern Jerusalem and act as an obstacle to Jewish contiguity from Ramallah, to the north, and Maaleh Adumim to the east. A Jerusalem judge agreed with city officials that the homes were built without approval and on land that is zoned as a “green area.”
Nearly 70 homes have been demolished this year, but government officials previously have estimated that approximately 40,000 Arab homes in the capital have been built without permits. Then-Housing Minister Natan Sharansky asserted seven years ago that the homes are "built for political reasons, in strategic areas of the city, along side roads and in areas where they can help split Jerusalem apart ... [and are] built by wealthy Arab contractors, paid for by Saudi Arabia.”
President Obama’s policy, following a long-standing State Department position, considers all of eastern Jerusalem, including the Western Wall area and the neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, among others, to be “occupied territory.”