Jerusalem Municipality Approves Budget for East Jerusalem Neighborhood

Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was at the center of a diplomatic row with the U.S. in 2010; committee also approves millions for Jewish sites in East Jerusalem.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The Jerusalem municipality's finance committee approved on Sunday a budget for development of a new neighborhood in Ramat Shlomo, which lies beyond the Green Line. The NIS 62.4-million budget will be allocated to the construction of infrastructure in the planned neighborhood.

The new neighborhood, expected to include 1,600 housing units, was at the center of a diplomatic crisis between Israel and the U.S. in March 2010, not least because plans for its construction were announced during Vice President Joe Biden's visit in Israel.

The committee, convened for the last time before the municipal election, also approved a number of projects beyond the Green Line. These include a NIS 20-million budget for developing a national park at Ir David, the City of David, located in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, NIS 16 million of which will be provided by the Prime Minister's Office, the Jerusalem municipality and the Tourism Industry. Another project that was approved Sunday was a mikveh in the Jewish neighborhood of Nof Tzion, located in the heart of the Arab quarter Jabal Mukkaber, for which the city will provide NIS 144,900.

The committee head, David Harari (Habayit Harehudi), welcomed the moves and called them "Jerusalem's vaccination shot against those who think about dividing it somehow."

Deputy Mayor Yosef 'Pepe' Alalu (Meretz) said the decisions were an attempt by Mayor Nir Barkat to appease Haredi and right-wing voters before the election in two months. Alalu called the moves "very sad" and "a provocation by people who don't want progress in talks with the Palestinians."

The Jerusalem Municipality said in response that "there is no change in the municipality's policy over the last 40 years, and we continue to build in all of the city's neighborhoods according to statutory plans for Jews and Arabs alike. In the coming years tens of thousands of housing units will be built all over the city for all sectors. New construction in Jerusalem is necessary for the development of the city and in order to give young people and students the opportunity to live and buy houses [in Jerusalem.]"

The Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Jerusalem, located beyond the Green Line.Credit: Emil Salman

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