Supreme Court Okays Highway Bisecting Arab Neighborhood in Jerusalem

Court rejects residents' appeal of district court decision.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The Supreme Court rejected on Sunday an appeal against the construction of a multilane highway that would cut in half an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem municipality is building a six-lane highway running through the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, cutting the pastoral area in the south of the city into two. 

The Jerusalem District Court in February rejected a petition filed by residents of southern Jerusalem against the road, which would split their pastoral Arab neighborhood in two.

As part of the residents’ appeal of a district court decision, the Supreme Court ruled in June that the state must find a solution to the transportation problems the highway would pose. But the residents claimed that the Jerusalem municipality falsely told the Supreme Court an agreement had been reached over the project and asked the court to ignore a report on a meeting held between the city engineer and residents, which they say misrepresents their position.

The residents asked the Supreme Court to order the state to either stop building the road, or to cover the Beit Safafa stretch of the highway.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court rejected the residents' appeal.

Plans for the highway, which would connect Jerusalem's Begin Highway with the so-called tunnels road linking the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to Jerusalem, were approved more than 23 years ago.

If built as planned, the highway will pass a few meters by some residents’ homes and cut off several dozen families from the center of the village, forcing them to drive or walk a long way to reach essential locations such as the neighborhood mosque, grocery store and kindergarten.

A resident of East Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa overlooking the highway construction works.Credit: Emil Salman