A plan to build 1,400 new housing units in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood located beyond the Green Line, will be discussed next week and is expected to be approved by the city's local planning and building committee, reported Army Radio on Sunday. If approved, the plan will then be submitted to the District Committee.
According to Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer, the plan is one of the largest to be established across the Green Line, one that is even bigger than the Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa plans that triggered a great uproar last year and raised tensions in relations between Israel and the United States, reported Army Radio.
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"We are very concerned, especially from the international reaction that would further harm the already eroded position of the State of Israel," Army Radio quoted Oppenheimer as saying.
Jerusalem Council member Meir Margalit (Meretz) said that "the plan is a more serious and dangerous step than all the previous plans for construction beyond the Green Line."
"This is a confirmation of the death of the peace process," Margalit told Army Radio.
The housing plan passed the necessary steps quickly, since the idea first came to light in July 2008.
Although it will take time before construction begins on the housing
units, discussion of the plan by the local committee signals a step
toward the goal, Army Radio said.
Officials from Jerusalem's City Hall emphasized Sunday morning that the
plan was brought forth by private entrepreneurs and was promoted by the
Jerusalem Development Authority.
"City hall continues to advance the new buildings for Arabs and Jews
according to the plan's outline," the officials said. "New construction
in Jerusalem is essential to the development of the city, and regardless
of that, the local committee is committed to discussing any plan that
is submitted to it, according to the law."