Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem municipal council member, was questioned on Sunday under warning, about his part in rebuilding a house demolished by the municipality in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur. This is the first time an Israeli activist has been questioned about helping to rebuild demolished houses.Margalit, who represents Meretz in the council and is active in the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, was summoned by the state prosecutor to the construction supervision offices of the Interior Ministry….
…. Margalit told the investigator that as a senior activist in the committee, he was involved in rebuilding “more than two hundred houses” in East Jerusalem. …“I was asked if I did it on purpose and answered that I do not recognize the Interior Ministry’s right to question me about my activities in East Jerusalem, which is occupied territory and where Israeli law is not valid,” said Margalit. “I have a feeling this questioning is part of the McCarthyist offensive in Israel in recent years. Each time they pick on one organization or activist, and this time it was my turn, so I wasn’t that surprised.”An Interior Ministry spokesperson said to Haaretz, “following a request by the state prosecutor’s Land Laws Enforcement Unit, Mr. Meir Margalit was summoned for questioning on suspicion of building without a permit, which is a criminal act….”
In an email addressed to the editorial board and friends of the Palestine-Israel Journal, Hillel Schenker (the PIJ’s co-managing editor and our colleague and a contributor to this weblog) declared the following:
I’m sure you all join me in expressions of solidarity with our colleague PIJ editorial board member Dr. Meir Margalit, who was questioned at the Ministry of Interior yesterday for his role in helping to rebuild a Palestinian home that was demolished in A-Tur.
Hillel’s colleague, Ziad AbuZayyad, the PIJ’s co-editor and publisher responded as follows:
It is very important for the Palestinian people to hear the voice of Meir and those who support him. This voice shows that not all Israelis are settlers and fanatics, but there are Israelis who care for peace based upon justice, who oppose the occupation and condemn the policy of homes demolition, and the eviction of the Palestinians from their homes for the sake of Jewish fanatic settlers. This proves that we are allies in our fight for freedom and justice.
It should be noted that Partners for Progressive Israel’s solidarity with Dr. Margalit is not an endorsement of the non-Zionist views of Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. As for Margalit, as an elected representative of Meretz, he is active in a progressive Zionist political party. Click here to read and sign a petition on behalf of Meir Margalit.