Israel Revives Plan for 10,000 New Homes in East Jerusalem

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Gate outside the old Atarot Airport
Gate outside the old Atarot AirportCredit: Emil Salman

Israel's Housing Ministry is bringing back plans for a new neighborhood in Jerusalem that falls outside of the 1967 borders and inside the West Bank. The neighborhood is planned for the site of the now defunct Atarot Airport, north of Jerusalem, and is supposed to provide housing for ultra-Orthodox Israelis.

The 10,000-home plan was drawn years ago by the Jerusalem municipality, but had been frozen due to the strong opposition of the previous U.S. administration to Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. But after Donald Trump's inauguration, Israel started advancing the plan again, and is set to make it public on Jerusalem Day in May, according to a Channel 10 report on Tuesday. 

Atarot Airport, the planned site of the new neighborhood, was abandoned was abandoned at the beginning of the second intifada some 15 years ago for fear that the Palestinians would shoot at planes taking off there. The airport is located next to the separation barrier, not far from the Qalandiyah checkpoint.

The plan also spans areas west of the airport, outside the municipal area of Jerusalem in the West Bank, in lands that are nevertheless under Jewish ownership.

Though the neighborhood is earmarked for the ultra-Orthodox public, but heads of the haredi community have recently expressed their opposition to the neighborhood's location, citing its distance from the city center and proximity to Palestinian neighborhoods and the separation barrier.

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