The leftist organization Ir Amim (City of Nations) has some good news for Land of Israel-oriented Jews: 150 new housing units were “advanced” in the first half of 2009 in strategic locations in eastern Jerusalem.
Ir Amim released a report to this effect on Thursday morning. In addition to the 150 units slated to house some 750 Jews, the report documents “progress” on public construction such as synagogues, mikvaot (ritual baths) and cultural centers.
“Progress” in this context does not necessarily mean that the plans were approved, but Ir Amim director Yehudit Oppenheimer is concerned that the growth of Jewish presence to the north, east and south of the Old City will “thwart any chance of reaching a peace agreement.”
The report states that most of the activity towards increasing Jewish presence in these areas is carried out by private organizations such as Elad (the City of David association) and Ateret Cohanim. However, “it is part of a strategic approach done in coordination with the various governmental authorities, such as the Municipality of Jerusalem.”
Ir Amim “warns” that additional Jewish purchases of land in “sensitive” areas - such as Samir Amis and Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem, as well as Jabel Mukabar, the Moslem quarter of the Old City, and elsewhere - may have been recently carried out.
One-Quarter of City of David: Jewish
The Ir David (City of David) area is located just below and to the south of the Temple Mount/Western Wall area, and was the site of the Jewish city of Jerusalem during the time of King David. Another recent report by Ir Amim indicated that though no Jews lived there before 1991, the situation today is very different: Approximately a quarter of the entire area is lived in or owned by Jews.
Future plans, not yet approved, call for the construction of an archaeological-tourism park and Jewish housing in much of Ir David.