The number of illegal Arab homes being slated for demolition in eastern Jerusalem since Donald Trump’s November, 2016 victory has increased significantly, according to a report issued this week by leftwing NGO Ir Amim.
Established in 2000, Ir Amim, which states its purpose as focusing on “Jerusalem within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and which “seeks to render Jerusalem a more equitable and sustainable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it,” received about $775,000 in donations in 2014 (the most recent report available), primarily from the European Union, Sweden, Norway, and groups in Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and the Fund for a New Israel (NIF).
Since the beginning of 2017, the Jerusalem municipality has demolished 42 housing units, according to the Ir Amim report, cited on Tuesday by Ha’aretz. Ir Amim also accuses the Jerusalem municipality of making it extremely difficult for Arabs to receive legal permits to build in the eastern part of the city.
According to Ir Amim, while in all of 2016 the municipality demolished 203 structures in eastern Jerusalem, about half of those were razed after the US elections. The figure for 2016 is an amazing improvement over 2015, when only 73 structures were taken down.
Incidentally, in 22 cases last year it was the Arab residents who demolished their own homes to avoid paying the fine which accompanies demolition by the municipality.
On a related issue, the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Monday held an emergency session called by MKs Akram Hasoon (Kulanu), Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) Arab List) and Michal Rozin (Meretz), on how “police are invading hundreds of homes in east Jerusalem in violation of the regulations”. The discussion was
MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp) said, “Don’t hide. Everything is also legal in police states. Don’t persecute innocent Palestinian Arabs. The entry [of police] into the homes of 500 families is political persecution. This is an unethical mission [on behalf of] a government which oppresses Palestinians. Eradicate this miserable conduct.”
Israel Police representative Commander Haim Shmueli said in response, “We don’t map out [entries based on national identity]. We operate in the field according to judicial orders.”