No Ramadan pause for home demolitions: Ben-Gvir

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas issued statements warning that home demolitions during Ramadan could spark unrest. The PA slammed it as an attempt to “Judaize Jerusalem.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ordered police to continue scheduled demolitions of illegally built homes in eastern Jerusalem throughout the month-long Islamic holiday of Ramadan, Kan News reported on Monday.

Ben-Gvir has promised to take a hard line against the construction of unpermitted structures, a practice which is widely ignored in Arab communities throughout Israel, including Arab-majority eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Last month, a statement from Ben-Gvir’s office said that there are some “200 demolition orders” issued by the Jerusalem municipality for illegally built homes in eastern neighborhoods, but “nobody has dealt with this so far.”

According to the statement, Ben-Gvir obtained access to all the demolition orders in order to “start and execute them in a strict and extensive manner,” noting that “the previous government never enforced” the decisions.

The order to continue demolishing unpermitted properties through the Ramadan period is a departure from previous policy, which saw authorities postponing demolitions during the holiday for fear of igniting anger from Israeli Arabs and the Muslim world.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas terror group issued statements warning that home demolitions during Ramadan could spark unrest among the Arab community.

“The extremist minister’s threats before the month of Ramadan are the continuation of the arrogance of the occupation, especially under this fascist government,” said Muhammad Hamada, the spokesman for the Hamas movement in Jerusalem.

“Aggression against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa [Mosque] will set the region ablaze, especially during Ramadan.”

Referring to Ben-Gvir as a “racist, colonialist” lawmaker, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry said that home demolitions during Ramadan constitute “incitement and escalation” and part of an attempt to “Judaize Jerusalem.”

The PA said that the demolitions of illegally built structures are equivalent to “the crimes of ethnic cleansing,” adding that it would hold the Netanyahu government “fully responsible for the ongoing crimes in Jerusalem.”

However, despite giving the order, it’s unclear if police will follow Ben-Gvir’s directives. Hebrew language media reported that Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, as well as other senior police officials, have butted heads with Ben-Gvir over policy changes.

The minister also publicly clashed with the Shin Bet after the intelligence agency ordered that the home of a terrorist that was sealed after a deadly attack be reopened.

In a public statement, Ben-Gvir said that the Shin Bet could send representatives to unseal the home themselves but that the police under his command would not participate in the unsealing.

The post No Ramadan pause for home demolitions: Ben-Gvir appeared first on World Israel News.

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