E. J'lem demolitions on hold

Public Security Ministry backtracks after US intervention.

May 14, 2010 02:32
1 minute read.
Silwan neighborhood planned for demolition

Silwan 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Demolition orders for illegally constructed Arab homes in east Jerusalem are highly unlikely to go ahead in the near future, it emerged on Thursday, despite a recent announcement to the contrary by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

The U-turn came after the US State Department sought clarifications over comments by Aharonovitch, who said on Wednesday that “police have no instructions to refrain from carrying out the demolitions. They will be carried out in the coming days.”

The comments threatened to reignite a US-Israeli row over Israeli policy in east Jerusalem.

“It’s not our decision,” a Public Security Ministry source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“The decision is made by the Interior Ministry, and we are tasked with carrying it out,” the source said. “We are now waiting for the orders to be activated.”

On Wednesday, Aharonovitch said that delays in carrying out the demolitions had occurred due to “diplomatic sensitivities,” but then added, “If there were such delays, they are no longer in effect.”

The Public Security Ministry received a request on Thursday from the US State Department for clarification of the comments. The ministry now believes that the Prime Minister’s Office will ensure that the delays remain in effect.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the ministry said: “Police do not destroy homes, but rather secure the demolitions, in line with court decisions. Police will carry out every mission given to it by the courts. The rule of law is not a vehicle for a Middle Eastern political and geostrategic discussion.”

The statement added, “We are subordinate to decisions by the attorney-general and the government, and we will act according to their decisions.”

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