Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Meir Turgeman
Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Meir TurgemanFlash 90

The Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Meir Turgeman, who also heads the planning and building committee, on Monday announced the cancellation of all construction plans in the Arab neighborhoods of the capital.

The move comes in response to Sunday's terrorist attack on Ammunition Hill in which two Israelis were murdered.

“We have reached the moment of truth. Let's put all the cards on the table: the people in eastern Jerusalem want to kill us and destroy us. Why should we give them yet another opportunity?" Turgeman said in an interview with Radio Jerusalem, calling on Jerusalem Arabs to take responsibility.

“We lived under the false hopes that these people would change their animal-like behavior if we help them. But it turns out that nothing helps. Why do people have to die in Jerusalem? Where is that written? Who said it?” he added.

“We need to take responsibility here. And I'm going to set an example. I removed all construction plans in eastern Jerusalem from the agenda [of the planning and building committee]. I cancelled all the plans. They say stick and carrot, but there are no more carrots, only sticks,” Turgeman said.

He added that it was inconceivable that construction plans for Jews would be cancelled due to international pressure while the Palestinian Arab population isn't penalized for its actions.

“This is not a one-way street. You cannot cancel building plans in Gilo and Ramat Shlomo due to such and other demands, while people who want to destroy us all the time are rewarded with candies and sweets. It's over, I take responsibility and if anyone is unhappy, they can fire me,” declared Turgeman.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat later clarified that Turgeman's move was not made in consultation with him.

In a statement, Barkat's office said that “the move does not reflect the opinion of the Mayor or the policy of the municipality. The way to prevent terrorism is to fight without compromise and with a heavy hand against those who choose the way of terror, incitement and violence and simultaneously strengthen the moderates and serve residents who wish to act in accordance with the law.”