Jerusalem Center for Human Rights and Legal Aid (JLAC) addressed a strong letter to the deputy mayor of Jerusalem and the head of Planning and Building committee, Mai’r Turjman, requesting a clarification regarding his statement to impose collective punishments against Jerusalemites, after the latest attack that took place in the city. In his statement Mr. Turjman indicated that all planning and licensing requests submitted by Jerusalemites to the municipality will be put aside, and that “the carrot-and-stick policy pursued by the municipality has failed as the carrot now is gone while the stick prevailed.”
JLAC considered Turjman’s statement racist and discriminatory, which reflects Israeli official policies in dealing with Palestinians. Also, it reveals the hidden agenda of the municipality in not providing permits for building in East Jerusalem, in order to implement Jerusalem Master Plan 2020.
In the letter, JLAC included several points demanding expedite clarifications from the deputy mayor regarding his partially discriminative and partially humiliating statements against Palestinians. The letter questioned the nature of this statement, whether it reflects his personal thoughts or as a representative of the municipality, referring that in this case, a person in his position should be aware of his sayings. The letter also inquired whether these statements were oral and ended by declaration, or were legally drafted and circulated to the interior departments within his framework.
Moreover, JLAC has requested to clarify if the intended procedures – as mentioned by the deputy mayor, comes within the power of the administration of the municipality, and whether it was discussed for the purpose of implementation or not. As for this, JLAC confirmed that the deputy mayor’s authority and the authorities of any person in a high position in any governmental department, shall not exceed those prescribed by law, and any act that exceeds these given authorities is unlawful and violates the regulations. The letter referred to the importance of clarifying the legal impact of these statements, as they are considered discriminatory and biased.
On the other hand, JLAC shed the light on Article “265” which states that all the powers entrusted to the procedures and executions are currently vested in the Minister of Finance in the government, meaning that the municipality is obliged to those implemented procedures and not instructions made by specific individuals.
At the end of the letter, JLAC pointed to article “109 (a)” that binds the municipality to decide on any planning and construction application submitted within 12 months.