Jerusalem City Hall Halts New Neighborhood – Kedma Tzion

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Meretz’s Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Papa Allalo working in concert with the city’s attorney, Yossi Chavilov, has ordered not to issue a permit towards the establishment of Kedma Tzion, a new Jewish neighborhood in the Abu Dis areas of the capital, a project undertaken by Ateret Kohanim Yeshiva located in the so-called Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

The plan for the new Jewish neighborhood was submitted to City Hall in 2000, under the administration of then mayor Ehud Olmert. The local building and planning board approved the necessary permits but the plan was not moved along to the district level, fearing the national government may become involved and then turn the planned project into a political matter.

Allalo explains that he is surprised the city moved along the plan since it deals with private land in a residential area, usually the type of situation avoided by the city, fearing allegations of discrimination. Chavilov explains there are illegal structures on the plot designated to become Kedmat Tzion and he for one does not see why the city should give retroactive approval to illegal construction, the daily Haaretz reports.

City Hall has submitted its objections to the District Planning Board regarding a request to retroactively approve illegal construction in the area known as Silwan.

The report adds that a year ago, Shas leader Minister of Industry & Trade Eli Yishai called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to unfreeze the project and permit construction.

Those in charge of the project explain that the land was purchased in the early 20th century by chareidim from Meah Shearim and a portion was turned over to the Jewish National Fund. Haaretz adds that 90% of Issawiya is in the PA (Palestinian Authority), carrying an Oslo Agreement designation “B”, under PA control for civil matters while Israel maintains security control.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)