Barkat: Seal Arab home along with Beit Yonatan (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Ronen Medzini Published: 12.25.10, 23:57)
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Jerusalem mayor equates between Jewish home, old synagogue in which
Arabs now live in Silwan
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced Saturday that the evacuation of
a Jewish building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan known
as Beit Yonatan will only be carried out parallel to the evacuation
of the Arab Abu-Nab home – located in what was a Yemenite synagogue
in the 1940´s.
A statement issued Saturday evening says the mayor is relieving
himself of all responsibility for Beit Yonatan, placing it instead on
the Ateret Cohanim movement which housed the Jewish residents there.
"Barkat has coordinated with the police that if Ateret Cohanim
members demand the government carry out evacuation orders applying to
the Arab residents… then the sealing of Beit Yonatan will be carried
out on the same day," the statement says.
The move, scheduled for the coming week, is expected to spark
conflict due to the sensitivity of the presence of Jews in Silwan.
Both homes – Jewish and Arab – are under evacuation orders, but
Ateret Cohanim has filed an appeal for a stay of the order on Beit
Barkat has so far ignored court orders that state Beit Yonatan must
be sealed immediately. "We will not discriminate in favor or against
Jews. If we are not allowed to wait for a general arrangement… then
both the orders for Arabs and Jews in Silwan will be carried out on
the same date," the statement says.
Opposition member Meir Margalit, of the Meretz faction, responded to
the statement by saying that the mayor was not actually behaving in
an egalitarian manner. "Dozens of (Arab) homes have been destroyed
while not a single Jewish building has been razed," he said.
"This announcement stinks of vengeance and pettiness and is aimed
more at being liked by settlers than really performing justly. You
cannot compare between settlers who built a home from the ground up
to Palestinian refugees who have been living in the same home since
the ´40s. Barkat is playing with fire."
Farhi Abu-Dihab, a resident of the neighborhood, called the
announcement "Barkat´s Christmas present to Silwan".
"There is absolutely no connection between the two buildings. The
mayor is once again pouring fuel on the fire instead of calming
things down. Instead of supplying our needs and providing us with
services such as hygiene and welfare he is dragging the entire region
into unrest, sending bulldozers and lighting a fire. Of course the
residents will respond to this, and I fear the response will be
severe," he said. (Copyright 2010 © Yedioth Internet 12/25/10)
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