Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion halts home demolitions in Palestinian neighborhood

Feb. 19 (UPI) — The mayor of Jerusalem said Wednesday the disputed city will halt the demolition of illegally-built homes in a Palestinian neighborhood, following protests last weekend.

Mayor Moshe Lion announced a new master plan and six-month moratorium on new settlements in the neighborhood of Isawiyah, where eight homes were recently demolished and there is no adequate sewer system, sidewalks or greenspace.

There are numerous homes in the neighborhood that were built without a permit and dozens more were scheduled for demolition.

Lion said his decision followed discussions with local Palestinian leaders. He said the master plan, which will include significant municipal investment, will be an example for Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that have similar trouble.

Isawiyah has been the backdrop for multiple stone-throwing demonstrations since September, as Palestinian parents threatened to keep their children out of school to protest ongoing police raids. Authorities are investigating the shooting of a 9-year-old child at a protest Saturday.

The community has hundreds of illegally-built structures and homeowners pay heavy fines to forestall demolition. East Jerusalem — named in the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan last month as the capital of a proposed Palestinian state — has been under Israeli jurisdiction since 1967.

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