Ben Gvir demands to blow up a 14-storey building in East Jerusalem
News » Arab-Israeli conflict
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir quarreled at the end of a security cabinet meeting last Sunday after the Ramot attack but before last night's attacks.
Ben-Gvir demanded that Netanyahu demolish an illegal 14-story building in East Jerusalem in response to the attack, but Netanyahu said it could draw international criticism. Ben-Gvir, in turn, said: “I'm tired of this policy of compromise.”
The large building, as already mentioned, has 14 floors, located next to the separation fence in the Sawahera neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Ben-Gvir presented Netanyahu with an order to demolish the building, along with reports from security sources that it posed a threat to the security forces. The building is uninhabited, and the minister suggested blowing it up in a controlled explosion with the help of the Yaalom combat engineering unit.
Last week, the Prime Minister decided to postpone the demolition of a large and illegal residential building in the Wadi Kedom area. The demolition was delayed until an unknown date after the US Embassy and European ambassadors asked the Prime Minister's Office to avoid the move. The building in question, in contrast to the building in the Sawahera district, is inhabited by about 90 people.
The minister has been pushing for the demolition of illegal buildings in Arab settlements and Arab neighborhoods for some time, and is moving forward with the demolition of buildings in East Jerusalem. Last week, after the attack in the Ramot area, Ben Gvir announced “Defensive Wall 2”, but at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, he explained that “there is no intention to enter with tanks, but we have 150 targets, people who the police can detain, destroy houses and small buildings, and set up patrols in Jerusalem.”
In a conversation between Netanyahu and Ben Gvir after the cabinet meeting on Sunday, one of the prime minister's aides said that the demolition of the building in Sawaher could “let the genie out of the bottle”; in East Jerusalem. “In the eyes of the Arabs, this will be perceived as an event in the style of the bombing of the Dahiya quarter in Beirut,” said a Netanyahu associate. Ben-Gvir stated that “the time has come for the world to understand that children were killed here. A sovereign country complies with building laws in its capital.”
The Prime Minister explained his opposition to the destruction of the building in Sawahere as “political considerations.” The Secretary of Homeland Security raised his voice and said, “What political considerations? Our children are being killed. The world will truly understand that children have been killed and a sovereign country enforces the law in its capital. Our children have been killed, there is no reason why we shouldn't react.”
Ben-Gvir added in a loud tone, “Children are being killed here, and you're talking about upsetting the Arabs? This building is a security risk. They go up to the roof and throw stones at our soldiers. They hide the cameras. This is a major security threat that affects the entire area. We are obliged to destroy it for security reasons".
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