Jerusalem Municipality Responds to Disinformation Regarding East Jerusalem
Thursday, March 05, 2009
The Jerusalem Municipality rejects many recent claims made in the media and
would like to provide further information on the topic. A disinformation
campaign took place recently, surrounding the visit of US Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Municipality of Jerusalem continues to exercise its rights and its
obligations to the residents of East Jerusalem in complete transparency.
Mayor Nir Barkat continues to promote investments in infrastructure,
construction, and education in East Jerusalem, while at the same time
upholding the law throughout West and East Jerusalem equally without bias.
According to administrative procedure, orders can be given to stop work on
illegal construction at the beginning and throughout the process of
construction. Often, illegal construction has come at the expense of public
land designated for the residents themselves. Since January 1, 28 demolition
orders have been carried out - 11 at structures in West Jerusalem and 17 at
structures in East Jerusalem.
1. Emek HaMelech
No new orders have been issued in the Emek HaMelech area and there is no
change in the Municipal position on this issue. The area of Emek HaMelech is
one of the most important areas with regards to the history of Jerusalem,
with holy sites important to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Because
its significant importance to the more than 3 billion people of faith around
the world, it is also a tourist destination. It is important to the future
of Jerusalem that this area be treated with the utmost strategic importance.
Emek HaMelech is not intended for residential development but rather it is
intended to be an open public space. This position is concurrent with
positions taken during the British Mandate and going back to Ottoman control
of the area. Most of the 80 illegal buildings were built within recent years
without proper permits and are in different stages of legal proceedings.
Residents of the buildings in question have turned to the District Committee
of the Ministry of the Interior, which rejected their petitions and did not
approve the illegal construction of the buildings due to the fact that the
Emek HaMelech area is intended for public recreational use.
2. Jabel Mukaber
The most recent illegal building that was demolished was not in Silwan but
rather in Jabel Mukaber. The illegal building was demolished following the
Supreme Court's rejection of the appeal filed against the demolition orders
because it was built illegally without a permit in open space. The
enforcement of this policy is completely equal between East and West
Jerusalem. The Municipality operates in accordance with the law and with the
rulings of the courts.
According to the Mayor of Jerusalem, administrative orders have been issued
to unlicensed buildings continuing the process of construction throughout
all of Jerusalem, West and East, without bias. Following procedure,
administrative orders were pasted on five buildings Tuesday that are still
under construction and are without residents. They had already been given
instructions to stop construction, which were not honored. The orders pasted
on the buildings also explain how the order can be appealed in the court of
law if any injustice is felt. Due to the illegal construction in areas
intended for public use in the neighborhood of Shuafat, a difficult
situation has arisen in which almost no public areas remain for public
construction for the residents of the neighborhood. The area of the illegal
construction includes land reserved for public schools and institutions for
the benefit of the residents of Shuafat and according to the Municiaplity's
obligation to the residents, the Municipality must stop the construction.
Stephan H. Miller
Office of Mayor Nir Barkat