The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions welcomes the words of the Mayor’s press release of June 7, 2005 and the words of the Minister of the Interior on Israeli Radio yesterday, June 7, 2005, in which it could be understood that they have decided to reverse their decision to demolish 88 houses in the al-Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan.
Despite this, we think that it is too early for celebration. We demand that first of all each and every demolition order which has already been issued be frozen and that there be a change to the zoning plan of this neighbourhood so that the people living there receive building permits and commence living in their own homes legally. Alternative land, as proposed by the Mayor, is no solution to this problem, since this would allow the proposed project to go forward and might well prejudice land rights of other owners of those alternative lands.
We would remind everyone that the Bustan situation is not an isolated case; thousands of such buildings are under threat of demolition and a just solution for each case must be found. We ask the press to keep this issue in high profile and not to allow any lack of focus to allow the demolitions to be carried out, whether under the general radar screen or because of high focus on Gaza.