J'lem to press on with Isawiya demolitions

Based on court's ruling, municipality plans to begin August first.

Silwan 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Silwan 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Jerusalem Municipality is moving forward with court orders to demolish 19 illegally constructed buildings in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya, and will begin carrying out the demolitions as early as Sunday, an attorney who represents the buildings’ owners told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Attorney Sami Ersheid, who represents the 19 original owners of the buildings, said that each structure is home to “at least three or four families – children of the original owners – who make up more than 60 families altogether.
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“Based on the court’s rulings, the municipality is planning to start the demolitions on the first of August,” he told The Post.
Ersheid said he had already filed an appeal with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where proceedings have been unfolding for a year.
“We’ve asked for a one-year delay in order to advance an alternative plan for the neighborhood,” Ersheid said.
“In fact, there was already an alternative plan that was broached for the area, which would have solved the legal issues there and prevented the buildings from being demolished,” he said. “It was considered by a number of authorities, including the Interior Ministry, but in the end, the plan was not accepted.
“And the court-ordered demolitions are now being advanced.”
The municipality declined to comment on the demolitions so as not to give details of impending house-demolitions.
Nonetheless, Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Mayor Nir Barkat, responded on the general issue of demolitions in the capital.
“The Municipality of Jerusalem works to uphold the rule of law throughout Jerusalem, and when a court decides that an illegal structure in the city must be demolished, the owner of the structure should expect the implementation of the rule of law,” Miller said.
“The Municipality of Jerusalem implements structural demolitions throughout the city, in cooperation with the Israel Police and in coordination with the relevant government personnel. For security concerns, no comment is made on the process of specific structural demolitions until after they are completed,” he said.