Israel to green-light construction of 700 East Jerusalem homes

Plans to be approved next Wednesday are for 500 units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood and 200 in neighboring Ramot

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Sunset over Ramat Shlomo on November 21, 2016.(Sebi Berens/Flash90)
Sunset over Ramat Shlomo on November 21, 2016.(Sebi Berens/Flash90)

Jerusalem authorities will convene next week to approve the construction of 700 homes in two Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

The plans, set to be authorized on Wednesday by the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee, include 500 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo and 200 in nearby Ramot, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman told The Times of Israel Thursday.

“We are continuing to build and strengthen Jerusalem. In the 50th year since the reunification of the city, we are uniting Jerusalem with actions on the ground,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement.

Ramat Shlomo is over the 1967 Green Line, while Ramot straddled it, in a segment of Jerusalem that the Palestinians hope will one day become the capital of their future state.

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On Wednesday, Channel 1 news reported that the government is planning to build some 10,000 new homes for Jews in north Jerusalem, near the Arab town of Qalandiya, just a few miles south of Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority.

The treasury has already allocated the money to develop the project, the report said. However, planning experts in Jerusalem told Channel 1 it is “nothing less than a fantasy.”

No new Jewish neighborhoods have been built in Jerusalem since the 1990s.

On Tuesday, the Planning and Building Committee approved a major expansion of the Jewish neighborhood of Nof Zion in East Jerusalem, signing off on plans to add 176 homes.

Protesters from the organization Peace Now demonstrate at a cornerstone laying of a new part of the Jewish Nof Zion neighborhood in the East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber on November 18, 2009. (FLASH90)

Nof Zion is located inside the Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

In allowing Nof Zion to add the new units to 91 existing homes, the expansion would create the largest Jewish enclave in an Arab neighborhood of the city, left-wing groups charged.

Jerusalem’s status is ultra-sensitive and central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel took control of East Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967 and later extended sovereignty over it in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.

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