The Arab Thought Forum held a public meeting in Silwan to highlights the implications of Article (212/5) of the Israeli zoning and planning law. Speaking at the meeting was Khalil Tufakji, Abdel-Rahman Abu Arafeh Director of the Arab Thought Forum, lawyer Mohammed Alayan, Attorney Hamid Qaraen, and Suleiman Abbasi Chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Land in Silwan. Noor Dkeidek of the Arab Thought Forum moderated the meeting.
The ATF study on the subject was prepared by lawyers Hamid Qaraen and Muhammad Alyan detailing the article, has been also highlighted. Khalil Tufakji, Director of the maps department at the Arab Studies Society spoke on behalf of the Palestinian Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem. He emphasized that the housing demolitions in Silwan were part of a wider Israeli policy to reduce the number of Palestinian residents in the city. He stressed that article 212 was only being used to empty land of its residents.
Elsewhere Suleiman Abbasi Chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Land in Silwan said that the issue was one that had been ongoing since the occupation began in 1967. He elaborated on how this brought the committee into being.
Mohammad Alyan described a list of engineering errors that have been used to justify the demolitions, despite the fact that several engineering bodies have raised objections. He proposed an end to demolition of houses, where there was still an opportunity to issue licenses to those threatened. Some houses scheduled for demolition are in the process of licensing and legally this prevents them from coming under the domain of article 212. While licensing remains a possibility, houses must be dealt with in accordance with Article 205.
In concluding the meeting, the participants agreed to organize further debates involving lawyers to publicize the article. It was agreed that an inventory of cases under article 212 would be compiled for legal arguments necessary to defend these cases against the Israeli measures as part of a national campaign.
Media Coverage: http://arabic.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31488&Itemid=102