A Fast Track to Approve More Plans in East Jerusalem

December 10, 2012

Today, 10/12/12, the Jerusalem Regional Committee for Planning and Construction will nominate a representative for a special committee which is called: “a Committee for Completion of Plans”. The committee is comprised of three members: a representative of the Minister of Interior, a representative of the Regional Committee for Planning and a representative of the Local Committee for Planning.  This committee is only established in rare occasions, and it is meant to promote plans that are “stuck” in the pipeline for too long. Specifically the committee that is being nominated today should discuss several of the most politically disputed plans in East Jerusalem, mainly: the Ramat Shlomo plan (for 1,600 units), Givat Hamatos B, C and D, and Hashalom Forest.

A member of the Jerusalem Regional Committee for Planing told me that it is the first time in at least 8 years that a Committee for Completion of Plans is established in the Jerusalem district. It seems to me that there are forces within the Government that are trying to push forward as many plans as possible in East Jerusalem before the election in Israel in order to set as many facts on the ground before any political change takes place, and are using this rare committee in order to do so.

The plans that will move to the authority of the Committee for Completion of Plans (what i call “the fast track committee”) are:

Plan no. 11085 – for 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo (the famous plan from the Beiden visit)
Plans no. 5834B, 5834C and 5834Dfor Givat Hamatos
Plan no. 10188 – for Hashalom forest (where the settlers have a visitors center and makes many controversial touristic activities)
Plan No. 11382 – for 57 units in Gilo
and another two small plans in West Jerusalem.

Last Week, the Ha’aretz newspaper published that the “fast track” committee will convene next week to hear the objections to the plan in Ramat Shlomo and to the Givat Hamatos plan. I don’t know whether there is already a date for the hearings of the other plans. However, it seems that there is a strategic effort by the Netanyahu government to set as many facts on ground as possible (such as the promotion of the E1 plan and the declaration on 3000 tenders) before any change in the political atmosphere takes place. Those facts on the ground might be lethal for the two state solution.

The Agenda for the Planning Committee on 10.12.12 – (in Hebrew)


Settlers Move in another House in Jaebl Mukaber

December 3, 2012

3/12/12
A group of settlers’ guards, entered this morning at 2.00 am, into a 5 floors building in Jabel Mukaber. The building was built several years ago by a Palestinian, and was probably sold to the settlers.

Two years ago, settlers moved in another house, at the same street, which is being guarded by guards and cameras 24 hours a day.

For me, this new settlement, at the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood is not only a dangerous provocation which is threatening the stability in the fragile situation of Jerusalem, but also a threat to the possibility to get to a two states solution and a compromise in Jerusalem.  It is no accident that the settlers choose to move in now, just after the Government announced 3000 units in settlements. It seems as if the Government has set the norm, and showed that it wishes to establish as many settlements as possible, to prevent the two states solution.

JabelMukaber031212b

JabelMukaber031212The new house, now settlement, in Jabel Mukaber

jabel mukaber2 - small


Settlers move in another apartment in A-Tur

November 5, 2012

After years of  legal struggle, the last Palestinian family living in the A-Tur settlement  building, evicted today their apartment and settlers moved in. The building, called by the settlers “Beit Hachoshen”, is located on top of Mt. of Olives, not far from the 7 Arches Hotel, in the Palestinian neighborhood of A-Tur in East Jerusalem. In 2006, settlers moved into the house and established the settlement in A-Tur on Mt. of Olives, while one of the Palestinian families continued to live in their apartment at the first floor of the building.

The court recently ruled that the apartment belongs to the settlers, who bought it from the Palestinian owner, and today the police ordered the family to move out. The settler moved in, only few minutes after the Palestinian family left.

The settlers, connected to the Elad association, are now controlling the whole building in addition to another apartment in the the house next to it.

The “Beit Hachoshen” settlement in A-Tur. Settlers moved into the first floor


180 new units in East Jeruslam

October 29, 2012

The Israeli Land Administration announced last week the allocation of 180 new housing units in East Jerusalem for families of people from the Israeli security forces (the army and police). The decision was made in accordance with the Israeli Government’s decision from 20.5.12 to allocate units for security people in Jerusalem in “places with special characteristics that can justify such allocations, according to the ILA considerations”.

Since almost no Palestinians serve in the Israeli security forces, this decision is clearly intended to prevent from Palestinian families the possibility to buy homes in the new neighborhood, which is located between two Palestinian neighborhoods, Sur Baher and Um Lison.

The plan, number 7977A, is on lands that were confiscated by the Israeli Government back in 1970 as part of the confiscations for the East Talpiyot (AKA Armon Hanatziv) neighborhood. On July 2012, the plan was officially announced valid after the final approval by the regional planning committee.

I think it is a shame that in a city where over 1/3 of the population are Palestinians, the authorities are planning only for Israelis, even near Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem, where such construction is desperately needed. This policy is not only taking us away from the possibility to get to Two States, but is also discriminatory and adds to the instability in Jerusalem.


Plan for a Military College on Mount of Olives Now Deposited

October 20, 2012

20/10/2012

In the last few days, ads were hung up in Mt. of Olives in East Jerusalem announcing the depositing of plan no. 51870 for the construction of the Israeli Military College. The public is granted 60 days to file any objections or reservations to the plan, after which the Regional Planning Committee can discuss the objections and approve the plan. The planned college would serve as the academy for training senior commanders in the Israeli Military and the Security Forces.

The idea to build the college should not be of any problem, but the location, at one of the most sensitive and disputed areas in Jerusalem,  is a little more than provocative. The plan is to build the Military Academy at the Palestinian neighborhood of A-Suwane, near the Beit Orot Settlement, at the hilltop of Mt. of Olives. The plans call for an 8 story structure, 5 stories of which will be built into the ridge, with 41,480 sq. m. of built up space.

See more at t-j.org.il.

The planed academy – an imaging from the plan documents

I believe that one can’t think of Mount of Olives as real estate. It is important for the three monotheistic religions: the 3,000 years old Jewish cemetery, is on Mt. of Olives, where the resurrection of the dead should begin when the Messiah comes; A thin bridge will connect the Haram A-Sharif and the Mt. of Olives at the end of the days, according to the Islam; and for the Christians, the Mt. of Olives is a site that connected with the life and the death of Christ, where he spent his last days before the crucifixion, and where he ascended.

On top of all this holiness, Mt. of Olives is under dispute between us and the Palestinians, and we will have to solve this dispute only through an agreement. Bringing the Military Academy to this spot is quite insensitive and if I may add, not so smart, of our Government.


Final Approval for 800 units in Gilo

October 18, 2012

As Israel enters into a period of elections, the plan to build 800 units at the Western Slopes of Gilo (plan no. 13157)  is published for validation. Today (18/10/2012), an ad was published in Maariv newspaper declaring the plan’s validation. This publication is the last phase of the planning process. Two weeks from the publication of the ad in the newspapers, the plan is valid and contractors may apply for a construction permit from the Municipality. In the case of Gilo’s Western Slopes plan, which was initiated by the Israel Land Administration, the contractors should win the bid in order to buy the rights to build, through a tender. Such a tender may be published in a few months.

 

There were two plans called Gilo’s Slopes:

  • The Southern Slopes of Gilo – Plan no. 13261 – for the construction of 850 units with potential addition of another 300 units. This plan was deposited for public review on May 10th, 2012, and is awaiting discussion of the objections by the district planning committee.
  • The Western Slopes of Gilo – Plan no. 13157 – for the construction of 800 units. This plan was deposited for public review already on April 2011 and was approved for validation on 24/6/2012. Today, 18/10/2012, it was published for validation.

The Municipality Spreads Demolition Alerts in Silwan

September 10, 2012

The Municipality of Jerusalem distributed today demolition alerts to Palestinians in Wadi Hilweh, threatening to issue administrative demolition orders unless alleged illegal construction stops. A municipality inspector handed the alerts to several families accompanied by the police.

The Municipality, together with the National Parks Authority, put a lot of pressure on the Palestinian residents of Silwan by issuing many demolition orders (which usually leads to long legal procedures and hi fines) and by implementing some of the orders.

I’m sure that the Municipality is also taking care of the massive construction done at settlers houses in Wadi Hilweh, not far from the spring (although past experience shows that settlers’ illegal construction is hardly touched), or they probably issued a special permit to do such works.

construction done these days at a settlers’ house at the heart of Silwan


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