The Jerusalem Municipality criticized the Justice Ministry on Tuesday for its refusal to permit Mayor Nir Barkat to issue an order to halt all demolitions in the Silwan neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
At a meeting with the mayor's office, the municipality presented the history of development plans and illegal building in the Silwan neighborhood. The officials showed that currently their are 130 illegally constructed buildings situated on public parkland in the neighborhood decades after the neighborhood's first municipal development plan was drawn up after Israel captured the neighborhood in the Six Day War.
Officials stated that at the time the original development plans establishing the zoning ordinances for the neighborhood were drawn up, only 16 dwellings were illegally placed on state land and that authorities had intended "grandfather" them into the municipal plans by recognizing their legal status.
Recently, Silwan has been the site of much controversy as part the municipality's recent attempt to develop the King's Garden redevelopment project in the neighborhood and upgrade the quality of housing and services in the area. As part of the redevelopment plan, the municipality intents to grant legal status to 77 of the 133 the previously illegally built dwellings, most Palestinian but some Jewish, in the neighborhood and demolish the rest to facilitate the completion of the redevelopment project.