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Go-Ahead for Jewish Housing at Shepherd Hotel Site

Appeals committee of Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee says construction can proceed.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/19/2011, 7:46 PM / Last Update: 1/19/2011, 8:13 PM

INN

The appeals committee of Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee  decided Wednesday to allow work on a Jewish neighborhood to proceed at the site of the former Shepherd Hotel in eastern Jerusalem.

The committee issued a temporary injunction against the construction work Monday after a new organization named the Muslim Committee filed a complaint with the committee. The group's representative argued that the building permit violates international law prohibiting the establishment of a settlement on occupied territory.

After the razing of part of the Shepherd Hotel building earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the event a "disturbing development [that] undermines peace efforts to achieve the two state-solution." The Prime Minister's Office said that the demolition was "conducted by private individuals in accordance with Israeli law" and that the Israeli government was not involved.

The European Union and parts of the Arab world also reacted badly to the construction. 

"There should be no expectation that the State of Israel will impose a ban on Jews purchasing private property in Jerusalem," the PMO stated. "No democratic government would impose such a ban on Jews and Israel will certainly not do so. Just as Arab residents of Jerusalem can buy or rent property in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Jews can buy or rent property in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem."

The building once was the home of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a keen ally of the Nazis in World War 2. American Jewish billionaire Irving Moskowitz purchased the property in 1985 and intends to build 20 apartments at the site.