While the Supreme Court is debating a request from the Netanyahu cabinet to postpone the demolition of the Amona community in Samaria by seven months, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has just upped the ante on the same debate, informing AG Avichai Mandelblit that a ruling in favor of the anonymous Arab claimants in Amona would have devastating consequences for some Arab residents of Jerusalem.
According to a Channel 2 News report Sunday, Barkat sent a letter to the AG warning that the Amona ruling would create a precedence by which the sovereign power is compelled to act to prevent the theft of private land and its subsequent settlement. Barkat warned that this precedence would inevitably force his municipality to evict Arab residents from their illegal dwellings in eastern Jerusalem.
“It has been brought to my attention recently that in my city of Jerusalem there are cases which are similar in principle, whereby Arab settlement has been established on Jewish owned land in the eastern part of the city,” Barkat wrote, adding that “there are also city- and government-owned lands which have been settled by Arabs.” Presumably, the mayor refers to lands usurped by the Jordanian government after 1949.
The Mayor assured the AG that he was not eager to settle those open accounts just yet. “As you well know, the city of Jerusalem is complex religiously, nationally and judicially. As a rule I have so far directed various city components to act extra carefully and to seek consistent settlements of such land disputes to the benefit of the public at large, as much as possible. Therefore I hereby request your opinion regarding the ramifications of the Supreme Court ruling and its implementation by the Israeli government on the Jerusalem municipality, especially in the cases which I have described, which we are currently investigating in eastern Jerusalem.”
Should the AG walk into this obvious trap, anything he may say in favor of letting Jerusalem Arabs stay on their stolen Jewish land may be used against him in the high court of law.