The Palestinian Authority’s minister for Jerusalem (al-Quds) affairs stepped down over the government’s failure to defend Palestinian interests.
Hatem Abdel Qader said Wednesday that he had decided to resign from his post in protest to the level of funding allocated to help Palestinians, whose homes in Jerusalem are being destroyed to increase the number of Jewish settlements.
Abdel Qader, who was appointed six weeks ago in a cabinet reshuffle, said the finance ministry was holding back payments to lawyers and engineers fighting cases in Israeli courts against demolition orders issued for Palestinian homes.
"Homes are being demolished because we cannot pay for court appeals," Abdel-Qader said.
"This indicates that they wanted me to be there as decoration, and I won’t be. My decision has been welcomed by the people of Jerusalem because they never received any aid from the government," he added.
While the municipality claims it is simply enforcing the law, several rights groups have repeatedly said that the demolition order, which forces hundreds of Palestinians to leave their homes in East Jerusalem, is politically-motivated and aims to increase the number of Jewish settlements.
Abdel Qader says Israel has ordered the demolition of over 1,000 Palestinian homes since the beginning of 2009, indicating that the pace of the destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem has increased in recent months despite worldwide condemnation.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has not commented on the issue yet.