New housing for Jews in Arab-majority Jerusalem neighborhood approved: report

Plan for 400 housing units for Jewish families receives initial approval, but similar plan approved 20 years ago was indefinitely shelved.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved a plan last week to construct a Jewish enclave in Abu Dis, a town on the outskirts of eastern Jerusalem, according to a Zman Israel report.

Some 400 housing units for Jewish Israelis received initial approval for construction, but the plan must undergo additional reviews and revisions before building begins.

Political considerations, such as pressure from the Biden administration to avoid building in the area, may also prove to be a major factor as to whether the plan comes to fruition.

Because the Palestinians claim eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a potential future state, Jewish construction outside of the western part of the city is often a contentious issue.

Notably, a similar plan for 225 housing units for Jewish families was approved in 2000. Shortly afterwards, the plan was shelved indefinitely, and more than two decades later, no progress has been made regarding the initiative.

However, senior members of the Jerusalem Municipality said they were certain that the ruling right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would approve Jewish building in eastern Jerusalem and beyond.

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Arieh King, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and a member of the Otzma Yehudit party, told Zman Yisrael that the current government had discussed budgeting for a new eastern Jerusalem road due to their “understanding of its strategic importance for the future” of the capital city.

King added that he was confident the government would also approve the “Kidmat Zion neighborhood plan that is planned on the borders of [that road.]”

“Kidmat Zion” is Hebrew for “advancing Zion.’

“This is our big opportunity and we will not give up on it,” another official, speaking anonymously, told Zman Yisrael.

Earlier this year, the Israeli government twice agreed to freeze settlement building, construction, and expansion under pressure from the U.S.

In March, Israel committed to stop “settlement discussions” for up to half a year at a security summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh that was also attended by representatives from the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S.

The same day, a shooting attack by a Palestinian terrorist took place in Huwara, seriously injuring dual American-Israeli citizen David Stern.