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March 09, 2009

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That's bad.

My local county has made people tear down or repermit fences that were put up up to 15 years ago, but even they will allow repermits outside of current codes for legacy structures, unless they're being significantly renovated.

Based on the information presented by the WSJ, I'm tempted to say /flameon with the snarky rant.

That said, Jerusalem has been around far longer than the current incarnation of Israel. Perhaps the original builders didn't get the proper permits and it has just taken this long for the city to get around to the demo work. You know how bureaucracies can be.

Naw, /flameon with the snarky rant.

"Am I missing something? Was there a new addition to the house or something?"

I think this is terribly wrong.

So the following, let's be clear, is merely a guess as to the alleged "justification," and not in any way agreement with it. I think such demolitions are a human rights violation, and completely wrong!

I hope that's clear.

But in answer to your implicit query as to what the likely "reasoning" would be, I'm -- and this is just a guess -- inclined to suspect that, as in many other cases, the mayor's office will assert that there are no clear records governing the property that support the Ruweidy family claim to historic ownership.

The thing is, before the British era, property records were often unclear or non-existent.

And then they usually were never subsequently established.

So it's frequently been the case that one Israeli authority or another will use that sort of thing as a pretext for claiming that Israeli Arab or Palestinian ownership of a property can't be documented, and then evicting them or demolishing a structure.

This is, as I said, a human rights violation, and just wrong. A crime.

But I'm guessing that'll be the claim.

I don't know the details, so I can't help you there. But I will eagerly await news of the many, many settlements that have been built or expanded in the West Bank without permits. I'm sure this new policy will be applied across the board. [/wish-fulfillment]

Maybe if the original builders had Bill & Ted's time machine, they could have traveled to the future to get a permit.

Why does this sound like something our own supreme court would rule in favor of? Probably more than one reason.

"I'm sure this new policy will be applied across the board."

What new policy? Israel has been demolishing various Arab homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank since 1967.

What Gary Farber said.
If I remember correctly Israel adopted and modified old Ottoman Empire land laws.

Back then esssentially most of the land was public land owned by the Sultan. And "leased" to people for life in exchange for "rent". WHen they died, the Sultan could lease that land to another person.
Private land - which could be inherited by other family members - had to be registered.

Now imagine WW1, the British mandate with WW2 and Israeli independence and very likely quite a few of those registered land claims can´t be proven any longer.

Which means Israel and its courts can decide that this land really was public land all the time and therefore - since the lease was only for life - should now fall back to public (state) land. Only this time Israeli state land.

At least German media now and then report that such a justification is used for the eviction of Palestinians or Beduins.

"At least German media now and then report that such a justification is used for the eviction of Palestinians or Beduins."

It happens with sufficient periodicity as to be said to happen "all the time." That's why I was rather startled by Hilzoy's reference to a "new policy."

Here's the deal in much of east Jerusalem: Arab residents can't get permits - as in they apply and get endless run-around or flat-out unreasonable denials - to build additions (so that extended family can continue to live in the same home); as a result, they build without permits; then Israeli authorities refuse to extend municipal water/sewer/electricity to the illegal additions. So maybe they're demolishing houses with illegal additions? Regardless, yes, it's bad, and not new.

//This is, as I said, a human rights violation, and just wrong. A crime.//

There is missing information in the story. I think it's likely that the Rumeidy family is from 'Old Money' and it is terribly unfair to the ones who aren't of Old Money to hve the Runeidy family remain in possession of property that they obviously stole from the rest of us. It is in the best interests of society that the tax on the Rumeidy's obscene wealth be raised. So society has added a new top marginal rate which applies to all Old Money families; namely demolition.

"There is missing information in the story."

The degree of off-topicness here makes you sound near-insane, you likely haven't noticed.

So society has added a new top marginal rate which applies to all Old Money families; namely demolition.

Yeah dave, and you're next. Take cover next time you see a bulldozer come down your street!

Yea, verily, whatsoever evil happeneth to the least of these, it happeneth to d'd'd'dave.

No matter what the original topic.

Just a guess, but I bet this didn't have a building permit either:

http://www.atpm.com/7.09/israel/images/western-wailing-wall.jpg

"Just a guess, but I bet this didn't have a building permit either:"

Of course it did. Second Temple:

As described in the Book of Ezra, rebuilding of the Temple was authorized by Cyrus the Great of Persia and ratified by Darius the Great of Persia.
The building was quite official and authorized.

Then:

[...] Around 19 BCE, Herod the Great began a massive renovation and expansion of the Second Temple complex. The Temple itself was torn down and a new one built in its place. The resulting structure is sometimes referred to as Herod's Temple, but it is still called the Second Temple because the sacrificial rituals continued unabated throughout the construction process.
All dulely authorized by the authorities.

The Western Wall is:

[...] Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great.
All the permits were in order.

I think Israel's position is not particularly helpful to making the case that they want to be partners in peace. (And I think that's about as charitable as one can objectively be on Israel's behalf here.)

It would be one thing if the homes were recently constructed but if some/many/most predate the State of Israel, I think that rationale goes out the window. And as Hilzoy noted, drawing parallels with construction/expansion of West Bank settlements is also problematic.

Gary,

I'm not so sure about the authenticity of those authorizations. The kerning looks a little suspicious to me. ;)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned ICAHD yet: http://www.icahd.org/eng/. Israel has a very long tradition of demolishing Palestinian homes on thin (or no) pretexts.

I can't imagine that a hundred forty year old home would ever be condemned for any reason. I'm pretty sure there's a rule that any home ever built before building permits should be allowed to molder for eternity.

/snark

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