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Jerusalem Mayor: Build 50,000, not 1,600, New Jerusalem Homes

The US and the Arab world are upset about Israel’s plans for 1,600 homes for Jews in the capital. The mayor says the number is closer to 50,000.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/23/2010, 1:40 AM / Last Update: 3/23/2010, 5:56 AM

Flash 90

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said that the recent announcement of progress towards building 1,600 new homes in Ramat Shlomo, which the United States opposes, is only a small part of a projected 50,000 new homes for Jews and Arabs.

Barkat told Britain’s Sky News that he will not accept any American-pressured move to halt construction in parts of the city that the United States does not recognize as being under Israeli sovereignty. “The concept of freezing building for Jews is one I don't accept,” he stated. “I will never accept it.

He spokes with Sky News the same day U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that building the 1,600 units in the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo “undermines” U.S. policy.

Mayor Barkat said a 20-year plan for united Jerusalem calls for 50,000 more housing units, including areas of the city that were restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, two-thirds for Jews and one-third for Arabs.  

"About a third of the 50,000 homes - 17,000 - is for growth in Arab neighborhoods, but I don't support this splitting the city east and west,” the mayor declared. “Jerusalem is a united city, one capital under Israeli sovereignty.

"We can negotiate a deal with the Palestinians and there is flexibility in other areas, but not on Jerusalem.