Ronen Medzini
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3875299,00.html

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat demanded recently that the city's police force renew the razing of illegal structures in east Jerusalem on which demolition orders have been issued, Ynet learned Tuesday.

The municipality has held off on implementing the orders since October due to political instability and pressure on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer responded to Barkat's orders by calling the mayor "a strategic threat to the stability in the Middle East".

"Jerusalem Municipality has decided to adopt an extreme right-wing policy that may bring on another intifada and isolate Israel from the world. Barkat must retract his orders publicly, before it's too late," he said.

If the police opt to carry out the municipality's orders, the demolitions may begin within the next few days and renewed political backlash over illegal construction in the city can be expected.

Jerusalem Municipality said in response, "There is no news on the matter and no special demands have been made. The Jerusalem Municipality cooperates with The Israel Police to carry out court orders in all areas of the city according to the annual plans.

"The demolitions were delayed for a number of months until Jerusalem's development budget was approved by the Interior Ministry, which also includes funds for razing."

PA response

Elements in the Palestinian Authority were quick to express outrage over the step, which was described by a Fatah official as "a new Israeli war crime, a massacre against Palestinian homes in Jerusalem." Khatem Abd al-Kader, Fatah's Jerusalem chief said that the decision jeopardizes "hundreds of houses, mainly in Silwan but also in Ras al-Amud, Jabel Mukabar, Beit Hanina and other locations."

Al-Kader added, "This is a declaration of a new war. We have witnessed a feigned state of calm over the last few weeks in respect to the razing order, in the backdrop of pseudo-US pressure. The world must intervene to prevent this decision which adds fuel to the explosiveness of the Israeli policy."

Ir Amim (City of Nations) responded to the report by saying, "It's too bad the Jerusalem Municipality, with the concurrence of the State of Israel, continues its policy of destroying homes.

"This will not solve or prevent the continuation of disorderly construction in these areas, and may bring on violent eruptions, thus risking any chance at a future agreement on sane existence in the city."


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