Illegal Construction in Jerusalem

, July 17, 2003


  • In recent decades, municipalities and governments in all parts of the world have struggled with illegal building. However, compared with the incessant denunciation of rather infrequent demolitions by the Jerusalem Municipality, there has been nearly a complete lack of publicity when other governments demolish illegal structures.
  • Those who complain that many Arabs cannot afford housing in Jerusalem ought to recognize economic reality; Jewish residents of Jerusalem who also cannot afford the high cost of housing find it necessary to move to the periphery of the city where housing is more affordable.

  • In New York, nobody would excuse or tolerate people building illegally in Central Park, whatever their attachment to Manhattan or however large their family.

  • Even the Palestinian Authority has demolished houses constructed illegally.

  • Particularly refreshing was PA leader Sari Nusseibeh’s statement that the “gangs that build illegally on land that does not belong to them should be thrown into jail,” and that “Nobody in their right mind is in favor of illegal building.


Justus Reid Weiner

Justus Reid Weiner received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law and his BA from Colgate University. He is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. His professional publications have appeared in leading law journals and intellectual magazines. In the U.S Weiner practiced law as an associate in the litigation department of the international law firm White & Case. Weiner also served as a senior attorney at the Israel Ministry of Justice specializing in human rights and other facets of public international law.