silwan house demolition 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Workers from the Jerusalem Municipality accompanied by security forces distributed notices to a number of residents in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday, notifying them that their homes were in violation of the area’s building codes.
According to a municipal source, no more than a dozen notices were handed out, and they did not constitute demolition orders.
The source added however, that the notices did represent the very first stages of Mayor Nir Barkat’s plan to begin large-scale demolitions in the neighborhood, if a plan to re-zone and retroactively legalize a large number of structures in the area did not gain the proper legal approvals.
Barkat has been at odds with his legal adviser, City Attorney Yossi Havilio, along with State Attorney Moshe Lador over his plans to redevelop the neighborhood. Both Lador and Havilio have insisted that the mayor carry out pending orders to seal Beit Yehonatan, a seven-story structure inside Silwan that is owned by Jews and home to eight families.
Barkat initially refused to implement that order,
but later said he would agree to carry it out, along with a slew of additional demolition orders against illegally built Arab homes in the neighborhood.
In response to the municipality’s distribution of notices Peace Now issued a response calling the move a “provocation” by Barkat, who, the left-wing group said, was, “implementing the settler’s ‘price tag’ policy in response to the court order to seal off Beit Yehonatan.
“These demolition notices are aimed at threatening the neighborhood’s residents,” Peace Now’s statement concluded.