MK Uri Ariel (National Union) vowed to support the construction of a controversial park in the heart of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Thursday during a meeting of the State Control Committee. Ariel, who chairs the committee, also promised to investigate why no illegal buildings have been demolished in Al Bustan despite the fact that the courts have approved dozens of demolitions.
Right-wing activists from the Btzedek initiated the discussion, claiming that illegal building is unchecked in the neighborhood and the municipality has done nothing to further the King’s Garden plan, in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. The King’s Garden/Gan HaMelech project calls for the demolition of 22 of 88 residential buildings in the neighborhood in order to recreate the historical green area that could have housed King Solomon’s gardens or vineyards. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has adopted the King’s Garden plan as one of his pet projects, which includes an entire overhaul of the neighborhood with improved infrastructure and community buildings, as well as retroactively legalizes 75 percent of the building.