The number of demolitions in eastern Jerusalem has surged since the election of Donald Trump, the Haaretz daily reported Tuesday, in part of what some are dubbing “The Trump effect”.
While Israel limited the number of home demolitions in the Arab sector – particularly in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria – over the past eight years due to the Obama administration’s stated opposition to such law enforcement activities, with the election of Donald Trump the Municipality of Jerusalem has had a far freer hand to crackdown on the rampant illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods.
For example, the King's Garden area and the Kidron Valley, zoned as open space from the time of the British Mandate because they contain historic caves from the time of Herod and the Second Temple, has 91 illegal structures which were slated for destruction years ago by the city but not carried out.The site has been all but destroyed by illegal Arab building.
According to data from the far-left Ir Amim organization, which lobbies on behalf of the builders of illegal Arab homes, the number of demolitions in Jerusalem more than doubled compared to 2015 – with nearly half of those demolitions taking place since the US election in November.
While only 73 homes were demolished in 2015, 203 demolitions were carried out in 2016, of which roughly 100 took place after November 8th.
During the first month and a half of 2017, 42 demolitions were executed, a pace 65% higher than 2016, and nearly 5 times as high as the rate in 2015.
A Jerusalem city official confirmed that the shift in policy was linked to the outcome of the US election.
“Everyone who chooses to build illegally should know that the Jerusalem municipality will demolish his home,” a Jerusalem city spokesperson said in a statement.