Tomorrow (Monday the 21st of June) two very controversial East Jerusalem plans are scheduled to come before the municipal planning committee (also known as the local planning committee). They are likely to be approved – the first of series of necessary approvals.
The first is for the King’s Garden / Bustan. This is the project that mayor Barkat announced a couple of months ago, then delayed after pressure from Bibi. This plan is to redevelop the Bustan area of Silwan in line with the settlers’ aspirations – to demolish some 88 Palestinian homes which were built without permits, and to create a Park which should be park of the City of David Park that was already established in Silwan. Barkat promises to allow the Palestinians to build alternative housing nearby but there are many doubts as for the possibility to implement the construction (see more here).
The second is a plan for the adjacent area of Silwan, where Beit Yehonaton is located. The plan would re-zone the area to permit the post-facto legalization of Beit Yehonaton (which was not only built illegally, but cannot be legalized under current zoning regulations). Barkat claims that the plan is good for the Palestinians, since it will also theoretically make it possible for Palestinians in the area to get permits, too. But similar experiences in the past raise serious doubts about this promise (and even if it were serious, it means that Barkat is holding permits for the Palestinians hostage to them agreeing to the settlers’ demands.)