Daily Israel Report

Wakf Building Illegally at Biblical Givat Shaul

Workers and tractors are readying the ground for construction at Tel al-Ful in northern Jerusalem. Will Mayor Barkat allow it?
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/11/2011, 6:06 PM

Tractor at Givat Shaul
Tractor at Givat Shaul
Aryeh King

Nationalist activist Aryeh King has discovered a new illegal construction site in Jerusalem, and has challenged the municipality to do something about it.

The construction is in its beginning phases at Tel al-Ful in northern Jerusalem, considered to be the Biblical Givat Shaul (Hill of Saul), overlooking the road to Pisgat Ze'ev.
 
The hill is also well known as the site upon which Jordan's King Hussein had begun to build a palace for himself, before Israel unified Jerusalem under its control in 1967.
 
King encountered construction workers and tractors at the site, which has been fenced off. He inquired as to who was behind the construction and was surprised to receive a direct answer: the Muslim Wakf, which is entrusted with supervision of holy sites.   
 
King documented the work being done and contacted sources in the Jerusalem Municipality, who said the Municipality had not authorized the construction. He fired off a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat and the other councilors, asking – in a somewhat exasperated tone – whether they intended to take action. He noted that the Municipality had not taken action against previous construction violations by Arabs. 
 
"It is not clear to me whether a single administrative demolition order has been signed by the Mayor in the past year – not even one! Has all illegal construction in eastern Jerusalem ceased? Is there any justification for the fact that the most deterrent tool against illegal construction is almost never used (against Arabs)?"
 
Deputy Mayor David Hadari (NRP/National Union) wrote an urgent letter to the City Director, demanding swift action against the construction. He noted that part of Givat Shaul is designated an archeological garden and part is intended for public structures.
 
The Municipality and the Israel Lands Authority sent inspection teams to the site following Hadari's request.