Minister: Israel ready to demolish E. Jerusalem homes

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is prepared to demolish illegal Palestinian homes in eastern Jerusalem, the country’s public security minister said.

"I will say this clearly: There is nothing preventing us, nothing preventing us from executing the signed demolition orders tomorrow morning," Yitzhak Aharonovich told a Knesset plenum session Wednesday. "The police will assist and provide full protection for the execution of the orders."

Aharonovich said the demolitions had been postponed for several months in order to enable the launch of peace talks, but he added that there is no official order to police to not demolish the homes, Haaretz reported.

The demolitions, he said, also could include Beit Yonatan, a seven-story building housing eight Jewish families in the eastern Jerusalem Arab village of Silwan.

"Regarding Beit Yonatan, I say that as far as I am concerned, any assistance requested by the city will be provided, we will provide the forces," Aharonovich said. "We are not on the deciding side."

Aharonovich said police could request a postponement of a scheduled demolition "due to a specific situation on the ground."
 

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