The Israeli GLZ radio exposed today that on October 31st, an ad was published in the Ha’aretz newspaper announcing the final approval of City Plan no. 12472, for the construction of the Mughrabi Ramp leading to the Temple Mount compound from the Wailing Wall Plaza. This was the final step required in order for the Jerusalem municipality to issue a construction permit and start the works.
The Mughrabi Ramp
The Original Plan for the Mughrabi Ramp
At the end of 2006, the Israeli authorities started the works on the reconstruction of the Mughrabi Ramp, leading from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount. The works started without a construction permit under the excuse of necessary renovations, and created a serious diplomatic crisis and raised the tensions in East Jerusalem. The Muslim Waqf claimed that any work in this sensitive area should be coordinated and accepted by all the relevant parties
The works were stopped following a complaint filed by the Municipality member Pepe Alalu and the Ir Amim organization, and the Israeli authorities were sent to prepare and approve a city plan that will allow the construction of the new ramp. The plan that was prepared (City Plan No. 12472) included the destruction of the existing ramp, archeological diggings, and the expansion of the prayer area of the Western Wall.
The Plan that was Actually Approved
Dr. Mahmoud Masalha, a researcher of Muslim holy sites appealed to the district court against the plan. On September 2010 the court decided that the plan as a whole is illegal and that it should be done at a framework of a thorough plan of the area and with coordination with all of the relevant parties. However, the court did allow the plan to include the construction of a new bridge on pillars, with minimum amount of diggings and change of the ground surface. The limited version of the plan is the plan that was approved last week and is likely to be implemented in the upcoming months. The planning committee appealed to the Supreme Court on the decision of the district court, and the plan might be changed in the future, nonetheless, the plan was approved last week.
This approval, although of the limited plan which is much less destructive than the original one, is yet another provocation of the Netanyahu Government. Instead of coordinating the works and achieving the agreement of all of the relevant parties, the Israeli government is causing another rise in the tensions in East Jerusalem and is putting another obstacle for the progress of the peace process.
The announcement of the approval of the Mughrabi Ramp plan: