Deri: No demolitions of illegal Arab homes

Interior Minister cuts deal with Arab mayors to stop demolitions of illegal buildings, calls for more PA workers in Israel.

David Rosenberg ,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alsterl/Flash 90

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) reviewed his ministry's policies in a meeting of the Knesset’s Committee on Internal Affairs.

Regarding the proliferation of illegal construction in the Arab sector, Deri noted that at present the state was doing little to enforce building laws.

“There’s 50,000 illegally constructed homes in the Arab sector, and in practice, the state is actually demolishing a very small number of them,” he said.

In light of this, Deri noted the agreement with leaders of Arab towns that no demolitions would take place, in exchange for their guarantee that no further illegal homes be built.

MK David Bitan (Likud) ridiculed Deri’s “deal” with local Arab leaders, arguing that they had no way of actually preventing illegal construction.

“They can’t promise that. In whose name [do they promise]? If there will be illegal construction, then what? It’s a meaningless pledge,” Bitan said.

Deri also took the opportunity to call for a dramatic increase in the number of workers allowed into Israel from the Palestinian Authority, saying that Israel should let in “as many as possible.” He claimed that Arab workers were preferable over “workers elsewhere.”