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New Jewish neighborhood reportedly planned for East Jerusalem

Government said to grant millions of shekels to build ten thousand homes in Atarot, near Arab town of Qalandiya; planning experts dismiss the idea

An illustrative photo of construction of new apartment buildings in Har Homa in East Jerusalem, October 28, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of construction of new apartment buildings in Har Homa in East Jerusalem, October 28, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The government has reportedly set aside millions of shekels to lay the groundwork for a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The plan is to build some ten thousand 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, Channel 1 reported Wednesday.

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.”

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

“Building ten thousand homes in the Atarot area is a Zionist act, an important settlement of the first order,” Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) said. “Today we are investing the first funds in planning to get the project started,” he added.

Left-wing activist group Peace Now condemned the plan, calling it “crazy.”

“This is a crazy plan, both politically and in terms of planning,” the group said. “It is an attempt to drive a wedge into the heart of an urban area of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Since the neighborhood of Har Homa was established in the 1990s, no new Israeli neighborhood has been built beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem.”

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