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UN data points to rise in illegal building demolitions under Ben-Gvir

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, 144 structures were destroyed in eastern Jerusalem and Area C of Judea and Samaria.

Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir at the launch of the party's election campaign in Jerusalem, Feb. 15, 2020. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir at the launch of the party's election campaign in Jerusalem, Feb. 15, 2020. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli demolition of illegal Arab construction has risen sharply under Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, according to data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, 42 structures were destroyed in eastern Jerusalem and 102 structures in Area C, a zone in Judea and Samaria under Israeli control.

In the same period last year, only 18 structures in eastern Jerusalem and 80 in Area C were demolished.

Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous government in 2021, during the same 38-day time period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 7, only four structures were demolished in eastern Jerusalem.

However, 152 structures were demolished in Area C over that timeframe, 50 more than during Ben-Gvir’s current tenure.

Ben-Gvir issued a directive to demolish illegal buildings in eastern Jerusalem following the shooting rampage at a Jerusalem synagogue on Jan. 27 that left seven Israeli citizens dead and a second shooting in the city the next morning that wounded two.

Demolitions began on Jan. 29, starting in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood where 14 illegal structures were demolished.

“Even this morning, the demolition of the illegal houses in Jerusalem continues,” Ben-Gvir tweeted on Jan. 30. “It’s one step in a series of important steps for governance and the war on terrorism.”

On Jan. 29, Ben-Gvir congratulated Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and the Jerusalem police for “enforcing the law and carrying it out immediately.”

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