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Unintended settlement freeze in East Jerusalem

June 26, 2011

According to the weekend edition of Kol Ha-Ir (Jerusalem’s main local newspaper, Herbew only, no website), last week the municipal committee of Planning and Construction (tichnun u-vniya) refused to authorize a large construction plan submitted by the mayor’s office. The mayor wished to construct a new neighborhood of about 2,500 apartments (the initial stage currently under discussion is for 1,500 apartments) in the A-Sawarcha area. This would be only the second large-scale official construction project in East Jerusalem, for the Arab population, since 1967 (the first was built in the early 1970s, north of Beit Hanina).

The committee refused to authorize the plan. Their position was that so long as there are no construction projects for Jews in East Jerusalem, there won’t be any for Arabs, either. It’s both or neither. The mayor’s inability simply to drive through his plans is a result of the electoral map, whereby his party doesn’t have a majority in the council and he rules through a coalition, many of whose members come from the Haredi parties; the Haredis are desperate for more construction because of their stratospheric birthrate.

The mayor has said he’ll keep trying to pass the plan. Had the Palestinians in East Jerusalem voted they’d have their own representatives and he’d be able to work with them to get the decision passed. (It’s to their benefit, after all). But almost none of them vote (maybe 4,000, at most), so he’s having difficulties in helping them. 

Did I ever mention that Jerusalem is a complicated place?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    June 27, 2011 11:09 am

    I wish this kind of information would reach the English medium newspapers, not just in Israel, but on the news wires. I would counteract all the bias (if anyone was brave enough to print it).

  2. Barry Meislin permalink
    June 27, 2011 2:43 pm

    …and he’d be able to work with them….

    And you’re absolutely certain of that?

    But almost none of them vote…

    If they voted they would be sanctioning the Jewish “occupation” of Jerusalem. Meaning they would be endangered by some of their neighbors who might not look too kindly on “sanctioning the Jewish ‘occupation’ of Jerusalem”.

    Moreover, if they voted, they just might have to take a certain modicum of responsibility for their day-to-day lives.

    …so he’s having difficulties in helping them.

    Which enables them to complain to the world that they’re being oppressed, they’re not being represented, they’re being exploited, they have no rights, Zionism is racism, etc., etc., etc.

    So why exactly do you think they’d willingly give all these “benefits” up? Because it’s good for the Jews? Because it’s good for them? (But it’s good for the Jews; ergo, by definition, it could not possibly be good for them.)

    File under: Take no responsibility. And then complain like hell.

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