In response to the decision of the Jerusalem Planning Committee on Monday to approve the King’s Garden project in the Shiloach area of the capital, the left-wing Meretz Party has submitted its resignation from the council. Meretz Deputy Mayor Pepe Alalu was fired on Monday for opposing Mayor Barkat’s plan. When asked to confirm reports that he was fired, Alalu told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) host Razi Barkai “yes because we have a dictator”.
The plan calls for razing 22 Arab homes towards rebuilding and rejuvenating the area, to build a major park project and installing modern electricity and sewage infrastructure. It is important to realize the homes being razed were built illegally, on public lands.
The homeowners being ousted, the overwhelming number of which living in primitive homes without sewage and electricity will be given land to build new homes.
Meretz strongly objects the city’s vision of improving the eastern areas of the capital, which it views the rightful property of Arabs and the future capital of the State of Palestine. Meretz remains an ardent supporter of protests against the growing Jewish presence in previously Arab-occupied areas of Yerushalayim, despite court validation regarding the legality of the home acquisitions, determined to hand the eastern areas of the capital over to Arab control.
Meretz officials on Tuesday announced the party will be submitting a no-confidence motion against the government in response to the Jerusalem approval of the plan which calls for razing 22 [illegal] Arab homes.
The US Dept. of State did not waste time and released a statement that the planning committee’s policy decision compromises ongoing efforts to advance peace initiatives between Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority).
Seeking to allay any harsh Western response, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday released a statement that the plan is far from the implementation stage and it must pass many stages prior to any concerns to razing any homes. This is in line with reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already reassured the White House that he will comply with its demands regarding concessions in the eastern areas of the Israeli capital despite the prime minister’s sharply contrasting public statements of White House defiance here at home.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)