Is­rael ad­vances plans for large hous­ing project for Pales­tine

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

An Is­raeli com­mit­tee has ap­proved con­tro­ver­sial plans for even­tual con­struc­tion of 2,200 Pales­tinian homes in oc­cu­pied east Jerusalem, a spokes­woman said Wed­nes­day, in the largest such project since 1967.

NGO Ir Amim de­scribed the plan to de­velop the Arab AlSawahra neigh­bor­hood as the largest plan­ning pro­ce­dure for east Jerusalem Pales­tini­ans since Is­rael seized the ter­ri­tory in the Six-Day War.

Aviv Tatarsky, a re­searcher for Ir Amim, which works for an “eq­ui­table” shar­ing of Jerusalem be­tween Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans, hailed the move, ap­proved Mon­day by the in­te­rior min­istry’s dis­trict com­mit­tee.

A mu­nic­i­pal state­ment said the plan was part of “Mayor Nir Barkat’s pol­icy of uni­fy­ing Jerusalem by re­duc­ing the gaps ex­ist­ing in the eastern part of the city, up­grad­ing the stan­dard of living and as­sum­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for all ac­tiv­i­ties ... in Arab neigh­bor­hoods.”

The plans were put forth by Barkat in 2009, but were not ad­vanced due to ob­jec­tions from right-wing politi­cians un­til Septem­ber 2014, when they were ap­proved by Jerusalem ‘s lo­cal plan­ning com­mit­tee.

Ac­cord­ing to Tatarsky, they en­able Pales­tini­ans to build homes on their pri­vately owned lands by re­zon­ing from “open space” to “res­i­den­tial.”

Tatarsky said landown­ers would now have to plan the homes and re­ceive ap­proval and that it would take years un­til con­struc­tion can begin.

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