Plans for Additional 1500 New Housing Units in East Jerusalem Announced
On Monday a sub-committee of the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee approved a plan to build 1,500 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.
The sub-committee decided to reduce the number of homes intended for construction from 1,700 to 1,500, after hearing from Arab residents, and also ruled that an archaeological site nearby be preserved.
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Yossi Deitch, welcomed the decision of the district committee. “I call on the Prime Minister to continue to promote the construction boom in Jerusalem,” the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot quoted him as saying.
Yehudit Oppenheimer, the executive director of Ir Amim, an NGO that focuses on Israeli-Arab issues in Jerusalem, blasted the move saying the construction “will make it hard for any future political settlement in Jerusalem.”
Interior Minister Eli Yishai also expressed his satisfaction.”The Interior Ministry will continue to work towards increasing the supply of housing for all populations in the city of Jerusalem as well as in the whole country,” the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot quoted him as saying.
The expansion plans for Ramat Shlomo date back to March 2010, when, during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the plans were made public. The approval sparked an unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Washington and Jerusalem, which led to the project being suspended.