The Israeli authorities started to implement a plan which aims to evacuate an Arabic neighborhood, east of Jerusalem, as part of a wider plan which aims to transfer thousands of Jerusalemites from their homes.

Attorney Sami Irshed said that the Jerusalem municipality handed dozens of residents of al-Bustan area, in Silwan east of Jerusalem, orders of intentions to level their homes.

Irshed, who represents the residents in Israeli courts, added that most of them received the eviction orders in perpetration to level their homes.

Al-Bustan area is inhibited by 1000 Palestinian residents, composing 200 families living in 88 residential buildings.

The Jerusalem municipality claimed that these homes were constructed without obtaining the needed permits, which is one of the main excuses it uses to level Palestinian homes.

“90% of the homes which were built east Jerusalem following the 1967 war were constructed without permits because Jerusalem municipality refused to specify the construction plans and maps for this area, in order to bar the residents from applying for construction permits”, Irshed said.

Irshed added that he along with other lawyers representing the residents in the area discovered that an Israeli ministerial committee formulated in 1977 a plan to transform the Palestinian areas surrounding Jerusalem into ’public gardens’.

“Israel we use everyway and any excuse in order to control the Palestinian areas and neighborhoods near Jerusalem and around it”, Irshed said.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem municipality head engineer Uri Shitreet, said that the plan is called A. M 9, prepared in 1977, and aims to transform the areas which surround Jerusalem into public areas, therefore any construction in these areas is considered illegal, according to Shitreet.

Shitreet added that he issued ordered to construction engineers working at the municipality to “conduct their utmost efforts to level these homes”.

Also, Shireet added that he intends to ignore the Israeli law which bars leveling the homes which were constructed before 1967, and the homes which were built more than seven years ago.

So far, the Israeli high court authorized the leveling of 30 homes in the area.

The plan which was prepared in 1977 intends to evacuate thousands of Jerusalemite Palestinians from several neighborhoods in Jerusalem, which raises fears that Israel does not only intend to level homes in al-Bustan area, but will also move to other neighborhoods surrounding the old city of Jerusalem.