Israel advances plan for controversial Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Cranes on a construction site in Jerusalem, September 1, 2021. (Nati Shohat/ Flash90/ File)
Cranes on a construction site in Jerusalem, September 1, 2021. (Nati Shohat/ Flash90/ File)

The Jerusalem District Planning Committee advances a plan for the development of a controversial Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The project, known as Givat Shaked, is located on the northwest edge of the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa, adjacent to the Green Line and will include 700 housing units.

According to a source on the planning committee, the plans will still be resubmitted to the committee before final approval, which is almost certain to be given.

The land for Givat Shaked was expropriated by the Rabin government in 1995, sparking international uproar. The project was then frozen by Rabin and was not advanced until December of last year, when the district committee green-lit the neighborhood through an earlier planning stage.

According to the Peace Now settlement watchdog, Givat Shaked will be located on the last remaining plot of land on which Beit Safafa could develop, given that the crowded Palestinian neighborhood is hemmed in on almost all sides — either by the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo to the south, a park to the west, or an area designated for another controversial Jewish neighborhood, Givat Hamatos, to the east.

A researcher for the Ir Amim organization asserted that the land should be used for the development of Beit Safafa, due to the lack of options for the development of that neighborhood.

“The government refuses to advance construction plans for Palestinians and at the same time destroys more and more houses in the east of the city,” says Ir Amim researcher Aviv Tatarski.

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