The Interior Ministry has begun planning the establishment of a new Arab city in the Galilee, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said Tuesday. Speaking during a tour of Arab settlements in the North, Sheetrit said in Umm el-Fahm that he intended to upgrade Kafr Kassem's status to that of city and that he had ordered his ministry to examine the steps necessary to establish an additional Arab city. "I'm talking about a modern town where a young couple can buy an apartment and live, like in any other modern city," he said. During his tour, the minister was asked to stop demolition orders issued against buildings constructed without a license. Sheetrit clarified to his host, Umm el-Fahm Mayor Sheikh Hasehm Abd el-Rahman, that he was not authorized to prevent the implementation of court orders. Sheetrit, however, announced that he ordered the Planning Administration to finish the general plans for Arab settlements during 2008. He said that his ministry would authorize the establishment of local councils in any settlement of more than 15,000 inhabitants. "In such a situation, the mayor is head of the council and the city council is also the committee on urban planning - an elected mayor will be responsible for issuing building permits and also for implementing the laws of planning and building," he said. Sheetrit was accompanied on his tour by his ministry's director-general, Aryeh Bar.