Jerusalem committee cancels debate on East Jerusalem projects

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee yesterday removed from its agenda three building plans for East Jerusalem neighbourhoods. Deputy Mayer Kobi Kahlon said that the timing of the plans was the reason for their sudden cancellation. The project plans include an expansion of the Har Homa neighbourhood by nine new buildings and fifty residential units, as well as the construction of a new access road. Har Homa is located beyond the 1967 border on the south-eastern perimeters of Jerusalem. The plans also included an additional 150 units in the Armon Hanatziv neighbourhood. Sources in the Jerusalem municipality said the reason was motivated by political considerations and the sensitivity of settlement construction in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods.

In March 2010, the Interior Ministry approved plans to build 1,600 units in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo during the visit to Israel by US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden condemned the decision by the interior ministry and since that situation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has overseen the committee in order to avoid decisions that influence the diplomatic process in the region.