Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who also chairs the City Planning Commission, on Monday morning told Jerusalem Radio that he plans to “punish” the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem for Sunday’s terror attack, and has already deleted from his committee agenda all the construction plans for the city’s Arab neighborhoods. “We’ve arrived at the moment of truth,” Turgeman said. “Let’s put our cards on the table — the people in eastern Jerusalem want to kill and annihilate us. Why should we give them new opportunities every day?”
“The whole time we’ve been living with the false hope that these people, if we give them and help them and support them, would change their bestial behavior,” Turgeman continued. “But it turns out that nothing helps. Why should people die in Jerusalem, where is it written, who said it? We need to accept responsibility around here. And I’m going to make an example. I removed from the agenda all the construction plans for eastern Jerusalem. I took down all the plans. They say we should use carrots and sticks, well we’re fresh out of carrots, only the sticks are left.”
“It’s over, I take the responsibility, and if you don’t like it, fire me,” Turgeman said.
As chairman of the city planning commission, Turgeman actually has the authority to change his committee’s agenda and prevent plans from coming up for a debate. Naturally, what would ensue are countless lawsuits by contractors and land owners who would argue the delays are rooted in external motives. For now the planning commission is going to be on hiatus for the Jewish holidays, so the chairman will have a chance to gracefully walk back his angry statement.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s office has released a statement saying Turgeman’s plan had not been “coordinated with the mayor and does not reflect City policy. The way to prevent terrorism is by fighting in an uncompromising manner and with a strong hand against those who choose the path of terror, incitement and violence — and concurrently by bolstering the moderates and serving those residents who want to obey the law.”David Israel