'Construction on Holyland Project Likely to Be Halted'

Top J'lem Municipality figures say permits stray from original building plans, advise halting project.

A senior official in the Jerusalem Municipality said on Tuesday that chances are that the construction on the contentious Holyland building project will be halted.

It was decided to conduct a discussion next Monday in the local planning and construction committee regarding freezing construction in the Holyland project, following the advice of top Jerusalem Municipality figures.

Jerusalem's City Engineer Shlomo Eshkol and the Jerusalem Municipality legal adviser, Attorney Yossi Havilio, have strongly advised stopping construction on the housing project and presented their expert opinion to Jerusalem's Deputy Mayor, Yosef (Pepe) Alalo.

They said the initiators of the project requested the construction of three additional buildings, which strayed from the original construction plans, and therefore the local planning and construction committee should suspend the construction permits of these buildings.

Eshkol and Havilo maintain that the initial permits were issued without all the facts, so building should be halted until the facts of the case are clarified.

The highly controversial Holyland residence project is at the center of a bribery affair involving many high profile figures, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who are suspected of taking bribes to obtain permits for a number of real estate projects.