The Arab leadership in Israel has rejected the decision giving local Arab authorities the power to demolish illegally-build houses.
The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee warned against the decision, which it calls a "criminal plan" and Arab mayors agreed not to follow the new policy because of "the great danger involved."
Kamel al-Khitab, the deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel's Northern Branch, told the Hamas newspaper al-Risala that authorities have marked out about 50,000 homes that were built without licenses in the Arab sector. Khitab's section of the Islamic Movement was outlawed in September 2015 for its incitement against Israel.
According to Khitab, the illegal construction is due to the difficult situation in the Arab sector, which in turn is caused by "the siege policy and Israel's foot-dragging," in not allowing building in Arab villages.
He added that Israel has not permitted the creation of a single Arab village since 1948, and that this policy pushes the residents to build homes on their lands.
Finally, Khitab claimed that Israel's decision to give mayors in Arab villages the authority to carry out destruction orders is intended to create an "internal Palestinian conflict." He insisted that the residents will not allow their homes to be demolished and that they will build a new house after each one is destroyed.