Barkat Creates a 'New Arab Neighborhood' in J'lem

Councilman King reports plan for 10,000 Arab housing units passes, as Barkat hikes building permits 50% in 2 years; Arab majority by 2030?

Ari Yashar,

Binyamin Netanyahu, Nir Barkat
Binyamin Netanyahu, Nir Barkat
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King reported on Tuesday night that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's urban construction plan 30006 - creating roughly 10,000 housing units for Arab residents in the city - has passed, thereby threatening the Jewish and Arab demographic balance in the capital.

King, who also is the director of the Israel Land Fund (ILF), warned of the dangers of the "Barkat plan to build a new Arab neighborhood in the east of the city," where around 230,000 Arabs and 200,000 Jews live.

Included in the roughly 10,000 housing units in the scope of the plan, which was drafted by Arab architect Senan Abdelqader, are 2,800 illegal Arab housing units already on the ground that are whitewashed and legalized by the plan.

The plan "crosses a red line and the right-wing leadership should all come out against mayor Barkat," urged King.

In a jab at Jewish Home, he noted sarcastically "has anyone heard anything about this from the Jerusalem Affairs Minister (Naftali Bennett - ed.) or the Housing Minister (Uri Ariel - ed.)? And they still say the right has representation in the Knesset."

King's announcement on Facebook included a photographed official response given by Barkat to a question by King, in which he raised the threat to the demographic balance in the city posed by building permits given to Arab residents accompanied by a lack of enforcement of the building laws regarding Arab neighborhoods.

In response, Barkat gave an accounting of the building permits he issued with a breakdown by Arab neighborhoods in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The tally shows a rapid increase, as plans receiving permits jump from 122 in 2012 to 157 in 2013, and further to 190 in 2014.

The growth is seen most dramatically in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, which jumped from 25 permits to 48, and in Ras al-Amud southeast of the Old City which spurted from four to 13 permits.

"Between the years 2012-2014 there is a rise (skyrocketing?) of 50% in building permits for Arabs in the east of the city," notes King. "And that's opposed to the continued freeze on Jews that Bibi (Binyamin Netanyahu - ed.) and Barkat are leading in Jerusalem."

Providing further detail, King remarked that in 2014 Barkat destroyed "only around 20 illegal buildings of the Arabs...out of a total of roughly 40,000 illegal housing units."

"He didn't destroy a single illegal mosque out of more than 50 illegal mosques, several of which were built on public land," charged the councilman. "But he destroyed five synagogues in 2014 alone."

King warned that Barkat is causing a de facto division of Jerusalem, stating "if the plans of the duo of Bibi-Barkat are realized, by 2030 there will be an equal number of Jews and Arabs in the Holy City of Jerusalem," a situation that would threaten the continued status of the city as Israel's undivided capital.




top