Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, ordered police to continue the demolition of “illegally built” Palestinian homes in Occupied East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israeli public broadcaster, KAN, reported Monday.
Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, is set to start later this month, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Israel did not carry out home demolitions during Ramadan in the past years to avoid tension with the Palestinians.
While Palestinians see Israel’s demolition policy as an attempt to drive them out of East Jerusalem and strengthen the Israeli occupation of the city, Israeli authorities consider these houses illegally built, without a permit.
Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said Israeli police warned Ben-Gvir that the fasting month of Ramadan could be extremely volatile as they are already stretched to the limit amid tension across the Occupied West Bank.
Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
In November 2022, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that “the whole world is worried” about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.
International law regards both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as Occupied Territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.