illegal Arab construction
illegal Arab constructionIsrael news photo: Dov Barak

The riddle of the city’s failure to implement demolition orders against illegal Arab structures has been officially solved: The PM’s Office said no.

The Director-General of the Municipality of Jerusalem explained the situation to MK Uri Ariel of the National Union party.

Ariel had written to Director Ya’ir Maayan, asking why the illegal buildings continue to remain standing, despite demolition orders outstanding against them. Maayan wrote as follows: 

“As you know, the municipality works towards enforcing the law throughout the city. Demolition orders are carried out with the accompaniment of Israel Police for the protection [of the personnel carrying out the orders].”

However, continued Maayan, “in the past month, dates for demolition were coordinated with the police – but they were canceled at the last minute because the Prime Minister’s Office did not issue its approval.”

MK Ariel said in response, “It’s been a while now that I have been tracking the non-implementation of demolition orders in Jerusalem, and I warned several times that the delay is simply political. Now, for the first time, an official has admitted that the one preventing the enforcement of the law is none other than the Prime Minister himself.”

According to the Israel Land Fund, headed by Jerusalem land activist Aryeh King, there are over 700 illegal Arab structures in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan (Shiloach, across from the City of David) alone.