Jerusalem city councilman Arieh King this week blamed Mayor Nir Barkat for reneging on a campaign promise by turning Nahal Og, a strategic corridor connecting the capital to E1, into a landfill instead of developing it.
Located just outside Jerusalem, Nahal Og is the northernmost riverbed draining into the Dead Sea. E1 is a contested hilltop located between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim that Palestinians want for a state.
King took to his Facebook page on Monday to allege that Barkat pledged during his 2009 campaign that he supported the “Eastern Gate Plan,” which would develop the area between French Hill and E1, including Nahal Og.
“Nir Barkat in his election campaign declared he would advance the ‘Eastern Gate Plan’ and fulfill the potential that exists in the area between French Hill and E1,” wrote King.
However, following the election, King said Barkat changed course, instead insisting on turning Nahal Og into a landfill.
After not receiving support from city council for the measure, King said Barkat resubmitted his plan to the regional council, which approved the measure last week.
King lamented the plan as being “so dangerous to the future of Jerusalem, as a city with a possibility to expand to the east,” King wrote.
In response, Barkat issued a statement Tuesday night defending the proposed landfill and accusing King of playing politics.
“The mayor supports the creation of territorial contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, and the plan that was approved by the regional committee of the Ministry of Interior for the construction of a landfill does not prevent this,” the statement read.
Adding that the plan has garnered wide support from multiple parties, the statement noted that King has been barred from the city’s planning committee due to personal conflicts of interest.