The construction of 17 settlement units in the old police station in Ras Elamud is almost completed. One year ago the settlers, who made a deal with the Police (according to which the settlers funded the construction of a new station for the police (in E1 area) and in return received the rights to use the old station buildings in Ras Elamud), started to renovate the two buildings in Ras Elamud into 17 housing units. Few weeks ago, they even started to market the homes for potential settler families. There was one thing they didn’t take care of – a construction permit. We have been writing to the Jerusalem Municipality about the illegal construction without a permit, but unlike in many cases of Palestinian construction without permits, there was no action to stop the construction. Last Monday, the settlers finally published an ad in the newspaper allowing the public 14 days to object the upcoming permit, as required by the law.
According to the law, any construction needs a permit. Usually changes within an existing building do not require a permit however, any change outside of a building must go through the procedure of a construction permit at the Municipality. In the case of the Ras Elamud police station, not only that the settlers made dramatic changes outside of the building that require a permit and even a publication for public review, they also changed the use of the building – from a police station to housing. The Municipality accepted the settlers’ opinion that according to the existing city plan in the area, the house can be used for housing and there’s no need for a new city plan.
The settlers know that the procedure of a construction permit takes time, and that maybe some of the changes they want to make might not be approved, so they decided not to wait for the permit, knowing that the Municipality will not touch them. Today, after they already completed the works, and following many complaints by us and by Pepe Alalu, a member of the Jerusalem Municipality from Meretz party, the Municipality is about to grant the settlers a permit for the construction they have already made.
There are now 14 days for the public to file objections to the permits.
The New Settlement, “Ma’ale David”, at the Old Police Station in Ras El-Amud