[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Israeli policy makers should take into account
that Israel gets the same bad press and international response for
decisions relating to 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 and 20,000 housing units beyond
the Green Line.
Then there is the question of the difference between taking a move that is
actually one step in a series of scores of steps before actual construction
takes place or doing something that clears the way for tractors and
bulldozers to go to work without requiring another high level decision. Do
foreign statements against settlement "construction" use the word
"construction" to signal that "planning" is OK or is this just an Israeli
Amid rising tensions, Jerusalem city hall to okay thousands of new homes
over Green Line
First new neighborhood since Har Homa planned in the south of the city;
1,700 apartments set for northern neighborhood
By Aaron KalmanDecember 3, 2012, 11:48 pm4 The Times of Israel
The Jerusalem Municipality will reportedly fast-track approval for thousands
of new homes in areas of the city east of the Green Line, including a
much-disputed neighborhood in the city’s north and an entirely new
neighborhood in the city’s south, Israeli media reported Monday night.
The move will likely further exacerbate tensions that have arisen since
Israel announced Friday it would step up settlement construction as a
response to the Palestinians’ upgraded status at the United Nations.
Some 1,700 units are scheduled for approval by the municipality in Ramat
Shlomo, a largely ultra-Orthodox neighborhood on the northern outskirts of
the city. The construction plans were initially okayed a year ago, during a
visit by US Vice President Joe Biden.
The plans were frozen after an international outcry over the timing of the
approval, which were seen as disrespectful to Washington.
The municipality will also green-light the construction of the first new
neighborhood beyond the Green Line since the 1997 decision to build Har
Thousands of apartments are to be approved in Givat Hamatos, located next to
the Jewish neighborhood of Talpiot and the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa.
Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 war, and
subsequently annexed them, later building Jewish neighborhoods in the
eastern part of the city, which it considers its undivided capital. More
than 200,000 Israelis are now estimated to live in Jewish neighborhoods
established over the Green Line.
The reports of the planned new construction in Jerusalem came amid a
diplomatic uproar that erupted over Israel’s announcement to build a
separate 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and other parts of East Jerusalem.
This government-announced plan includes intended construction in the
sensitive E1 corridor between Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’aleh
The move, which Israel said is retaliation for the UN’s upgrading of the
Palestinian Authority to a nonmember observer state last Thursday, has been
widely condemned around the world. On Monday, the US urged Israel to
backtrack, and several ambassadors in European capitals were called in for
rebuke by their host countries. Britain and France were reported to be
considering recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for consultations,
though France denied this.
An official in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however,
said Israel would “fulfill its vital interests even in the face of
international pressure and will not reverse its decision.”