World, Middle East

Jerusalem mayor threatens to demolish Palestinian homes

If illegal Jewish W. Bank outpost must be razed, so do Palestinian homes in E. Jerusalem, Israeli mayor of Jerusalem says

Jerusalem mayor threatens to demolish Palestinian homes

By Kaamil Ahmed


The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem has warned that the eviction of Israeli settlers from an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank -- in line with a court ruling -- could lead to the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Monday.

According to the broadcaster, Mayor Nir Barkat wrote a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit warning that, since Israel’s High Court of Justice had ordered the eviction of settlers based on the fact that the outpost stood on private Palestinian land, then Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem -- built on land he claimed belonged to Israelis -- might likewise be expropriated.

The Palestinian owners of the land on which the outpost stands, who were represented at the High Court by Israeli rights group Yesh Din on Sunday, have also criticized a government petition to delay the settlers’ eviction for "security reasons".

"This request is a disgrace," read a response filed by Yesh Din lawyers. "A disgrace for the applicants; a disgrace for the citizens of the state; and a disgrace for the attorney-general and state attorney, who cooperated with this pack of feeble excuses."

"Time and again, the state tries to outsmart the verdicts of the High Court of Justice regarding illegal construction by Israelis on Palestinian private lands in the occupied territories," it added.

According to Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, the Amona outpost was built in the Israeli-occupied West Bank almost 20 years ago and now has 41 Jewish Israeli families living on it.

Peace Now says that, even as the settlers refuse to leave the outpost by a December deadline, the government is planning to build a new settlement for them, which, the groups says, would be larger than Amona.

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