Another Freeze? Meetings for 1,500 Units in Jerusalem Cancelled

'Master plan' to build new neighborhood in Har Homa put on hold 'for no reason' - while plans for Arab neighborhoods kept on the agenda.

Contact Editor
Tova Dvorin, | updated: 12:56

Construction (illustrative)
Construction (illustrative)
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Construction has been frozen in parts of Jerusalem over 1949 Armistice lines, a report revealed Wednesday - even though Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared on the night before the 20th Knesset elections that he would not cave to international pressure.

Housing plans for 1,500 units set to be built in Har Homa have been halted for "reasons that are not professional or planned," Yediot Aharonot reports. 

The Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Jerusalem municipality confirmed to the news agency that two critical planning discussions designed to promote construction that were scheduled this upcoming week have been cancelled for unspecified reasons. 

In December 2014, the Jerusalem City Council announced it would spend millions of dollars beautifying Har Homa (Homat Shmuel), and will use 50 million shekels ($12.5 million, 10.2 million euros) to fund development in the neighborhood. The Homat Shmuel neighborhood is named after the late Shmuel Meir, who served as deputy mayor of Jerusalem from the National Religious Party and was killed in a car accident in 1996. 

The money will be channeled toward construction of a park, children's playgrounds, green spaces, new street lighting, as well as football and basketball grounds, the council said. The development was made possible in an agreement reached between the Ministry of Construction and the Jerusalem municipality, under which the Ministry of Construction will transfer responsibility for Har Homa - considered at times as a "suburb" of Jerusalem - to the Jerusalem municipality itself. 

Initial - and crucial - meetings over the plan with the Regional Planning Committee and the Jerusalem branch of the Interior Ministry were supposed to have met Wednesdays and next Monday, respectively - but both of these meetings have been cancelled. 

Concurrently, meetings over the Arab neighborhood in the same area of Al-Sawarah planned for this week remain on the agenda. 

The move follows several rumblings over the state of US-Israel relations, which have publicly crumbled this week after the White House, and US President Barack Obama in particular, gave Netanyahu an icy reception after the latter's victory. 

Among the "unprecedented" hostility being expressed at Israel from Washington, the State Department bluntly said Monday that Israel's so-called "occupation of Palestinian land" must end.

A top diplomat lamented the situation on Tuesday, stating that Obama has an agenda of revenge against Netanyahu. 

"Look what we have done so far with the construction in the settlements," the official fired. "We took upon ourselves all of the restrictions from the [Ariel] Sharon - [George W.] Bush era, which allowed natural growth but not the establishment of new settlements."

"But this administration does not understand the Sharon-Bush terms," he continued. "Their policy is a "no brick" policy, and it doesn't make any sense." 

Obama denied that any tensions are "personal" on Tuesday night. 








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