Israeli sources reported that senior U.S. officials asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for clarifications regarding Israel’s decision to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, in order to replace them with an “Archeological Garden”.Israeli paper, Haaretz, said that senior officials are concerned that the issue would harm trust between Israel and its principle ally, the United States, and could jeopardize the efforts to start proximity talks.
U.S. officials told Israeli counterparts that the United States would issue “strong and clear statements condemning the demolishing of Arab homes”.
White House Spokesperson, Philip Crowley, stated that the United States is concerned as this issue harms the efforts to build the trust needed to achieve development in proximity talks.
But officials close to Netanyahu said that they told the U.S. that the issue here is “regarding homes built on public lands,” and that Obama and his administration do not have the right to intervene.
The Israeli officials added that Netanyahu asked the Jerusalem Municipality to delay the deliberations for three more months in order to “negotiate” with the Palestinian residents, but the municipality could not reach any compromise.
The Documentation Department at the al-Quds Center for Social and Economic Rights said that most of the homes are located in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, al-Ashqariyya, Shufat, Nusseiba project, Silwan, al-Thoury, Jabal al-Mukabbir, Sur Baher, al-Zayyim, al-Esawiyya, and Ras Khamis.
The center added that more than 1,000 Palestinians live in these homes, and that the properties in question were mainly built more than three years ago.
The new orders do not include the orders against additional 125 homes and apartments in al-Bustan, al-Abbasiyya and Wad Hilwa.
On Monday, Israeli bulldozers demolished a home in East Jerusalem and also demolished a wall, and other structures in the occupied city. The Jerusalem municipality also partially demolished another home before the owner obtained a temporary order to freeze the demolishing.
Israel demolished 61 homes in East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year; it also demolished agricultural structures. Eighteen more homes were demolished by their owners who elected to demolish their own homes rather than pay the high fines and exaggerated demolition costs imposed on them by the Jerusalem Municipality.