donderdag 9 augustus 2012
Jerusalem orders demolition of trailers housing Palestinian families who have been evicted
The trailer that houses the Salma-family whose house has been demolished twice by the Jerusalem municipality. (Haaretz).
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Wednesday signed demolition orders for two trailer homes in East Jerusalem that house Palestinian families whose former homes were torn down by the city. The structures were put up by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its emergency pooled fund, the Humanitarian Response Fund.
Foreign Ministry and city officials on Wednesday accused OCHA of repeatedly violating accepted protocols regarding the operation of international organizations.
OCHA officials said the trailers, in the Beit Hanina neighborhood, do not require a license from the municipality because they are not hooked up to city utilities or attached to foundations and they are a stopgap, emergency solution only for the homeless families in each one.
But the municipality and the Foreign Ministry dismissed OCHA's explanations, saying the move constitutes a ratcheting up of intervention in Jerusalem by an international agency.
"Israel is not a banana republic, but a state of law and order," the municipality said in a statement. "The UN can help to advance the residents' quality of life in keeping with the law and we hope the construction violation at the site is not in accordance with the UN."
The trailers bear OCHA's emblem as well as the flags of HRF's donor countries: Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands and Ireland. Municipal officials said the flags were a ploy to embroil Israel in embarrassing pictures of destroying trailer homes donated by friendly states.
All six members of the Salma family, whose home was demolished twice by the municipality because it lacked building permits, now live together in a cramped, 40-square-meter trailer home. The Salmas were unable to obtain permits because the city refuses to grant construction permits for the area.