Jerusalem Nati Shohat/Flash 90

While plans to expand the Palestinian Authority city of Qalqiliya by some 14,000 to 15,000 housing units has dominated the headlines in Israel over the past week, a massive new building project in Israel’s capital has been largely ignored.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich spoke with Arutz Sheva recently regarding the new Arab a-Sawarah neighborhood planned in Jerusalem.

Following a recent report that construction Jewish neighborhoods has been largely frozen in Jerusalem in recent years, with plans for some 6,000 homes shelved, Kalmanovich revealed that an entire new neighborhood designated for the city’s Arab minority has already received building permits.

According to Kalmanovich, the new Arab neighborhood will include 7,000 new homes and will be built next to the Jabel Mukhabar neighborhood.

“More than a year ago, a proposal was passed by the Planning and Housing Committee for the establishment of the Arab a-Sawarah neighborhood; a new neighborhood of 7,000 housing units near Jabel Mukhabar. This [plan] has also received approval from the city council.”

“I don’t have a problem with this,” continued Kalmanovich, “except for the fact that there is no building for the Jewish population .”

Kalmanovich said the pattern of permitting construction for Arabs but freezing Jewish housing projects was a cause for concern.

“Jerusalem needs 4,000 new housing units each year just to cover natural growth; that means that over the last five years we lack the 20,000 new housing units in Jerusalem that were not built.”

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