Jerusalem Israel news A7 photo

Standing at the site of King Hussein’s unfinished palace in east Jerusalem, MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) told approximately 140 English-speaking Israelis on a a tour of east Jerusalem organized by Likud Anglos, that Jerusalem needs to be built up and its borders must be expanded.

Hotovely said that every year Jerusalem plans to build 6000 new apartments, but builds only one thousand, adding, “We are failing.”

The MK also discussed how the media use of Arabic names for various Jerusalem neighborhoods gives people the impression that these are not Jewish neighborhoods, and can therefore be easily handed over. In fact, Hotovely noted, Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are often only a few meters apart.

Hotovely said she plans to introduce legislation in the Knesset this session that would create a “Greater Jerusalem” metropolitan area by expanding Jerusalem’s municipal borders to include places such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Giv’at Ze’ev.

Hotovely pointed to undeveloped areas and hills as examples of land that should be incorporated into Jerusalem’s municipal borders and then developed as part of the city.

The “Greater Jerusalem” plan (“Yerushalayim Rabati” in Hebrew) is backed by a group of Jerusalemites called The Committee for a Greater Jerusalem, led by Jerusalem resident Aryeh Hess.

The plan itself is not completely new. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in this speech discussed his vision for a greater Jerusalem as part of the permanent settlement he envisioned with the Palestinians. “First and foremost,” Rabin said, the permanent settlement should include a “united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev, as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.”

In the same 1995 speech, Rabin also stated that he did not envision a Palestinian state, but “an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.”

In this interview Rabin decried the establishment of a Palestinian state as a danger to Israel.

Introducing Hotovely, Daniel Tauber, chairman of the Likud Anglos Jerusalem Chapter, noted the danger a Palestinian state would pose to Jerusalem, as it would surround Jerusalem on three sides, if not completely divide the city.

“Last week Netanyahu looked the President in the eye and said no,” Tauber said. “Shamir did it to President Bush and Menachem Begin did it to Ronald Reagan many times. People say, sometimes they complain from the right, that it takes the Likud to make peace. But it’s also true that it takes the Likud to say no.

The unfinished palace from which Hotovely addressed participants is believed by many archeologists, including the famous William F. Albright, to have been built upon the ruins of the palace of King Saul, the first King of Israel. All that was built of Hussein’s intended palace was the frame and roof of the two-story structure, as well as the foundation of a smaller second structure a few meters away. The palace, located at the top of a hill, provides a view of Jerusalem and its surroundings. Construction of the palace was interrupted indefinitely by Israel’s conquest of east Jerusalem in 1967. Today the Jordanian royal family still claims ownership over the property.

The tour was led by tour guides from Keep Jerusalem, a non-profit organization that gives tours of eastern Jerusalem with an aim to educate people on the need to keep Jerusalem united.