Three new construction plans in eastern Jerusalem have been removed, with barely any explanation, from the agenda of the city’s zoning and planning board. The chairman said the plans were not yet “ripe” for consideration.
Elisha Peleg, Likud representative in the Jerusalem Municipality, was quoted as saying he “very much suspects that there was political intervention in the planning process,” which he views “with extraordinary gravity.”
His colleague David Hadari, of the National Religious Party, confirmed to Israel National News that the plans had been withdrawn from consideration, “to our startled amazement and to our disgrace.”
However, he said, “I do not think there was political intervention from above... but I believe that even where there are bureaucratic issues, such as a missing form or the like, construction plans for these parts of Jerusalem should specifically not be taken off the agenda. These areas are very sensitive on a national scale, and we do not want anyone to think that we are caving in to any pressure regarding these areas. Jerusalem belongs to Israel, period.”
The plans were removed from the council’s agenda at the “last minute,” Hadari said, leaving no time for a proper response from those who objected to the removal.
Both Hadari and Peleg said they have reason to hope the plans would be brought up at the next zoning board meeting, within a week or two.
Two of the plans concern Har Homa, in southeastern Jerusalem, calling for a new access road, 50 housing units and nine new public buildings. The neighborhood’s official name is Homat Shmuel, named for former Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir, but its popular name has become Har Homa.
A third plan calls for the expansion of Armon HaNetziv, further to the north and closer to the Old City, to be expanded to the south with another 150 apartments.