A plan for 120 housing units in the capital’s northeast Ramot neighborhood,
which is located over the Green Line, received final approval on Monday from the
Jerusalem Municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee on
This is the first Jewish construction project over the Green Line
to receive a final approval in 2011, according to the Ir Amim NGO.
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building permit issued by the municipality is the last step in the years-long
approval process, and is a formality that is almost always approved. It is,
however, the last chance for the government or municipality to stop a project
before construction begins. With the building permit in hand, contractors can
begin work on the Ramot project as soon as Tuesday.
The project includes
two residential buildings up to 13 stories high with some commercial space, and
is located in the northeast corner of Ramot, looking toward the Arab
neighborhood of Beit Hanina. The security barrier runs between Ramot and Beit
Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran, who monitors east Jerusalem
construction, noted that the plan is part of ongoing expansion plans in Ramot
and that it was well-known before Monday’s discussion. The project started the
approval process in 2004.
Though the announcement means work on the
project can begin at any time, it did not cause as much of a reaction as the
announcement of 13 housing units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood last week,
which only represented the first approval for that project.
Jarrah was worse,” municipal opposition head City Councilor Pepe Alalu (Meretz)
said. “But there’s no question, we’re only hurting ourselves with these
“In the area of the Holy Basin [which includes Sheikh
Jarrah], things are much more sensitive and explosive, but it doesn’t mean that
these plans outside of the Holy Basin are of no consequence,” said Orly Noy, the
spokeswoman for Ir Amim.
“New construction in Jerusalem is essential to
the development of the city and enabling young people and students to live and
buy apartments,” a municipal spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post
. She said the
city continues to “promote and discuss” both Jewish and Arab construction, and
that the planning committees make their decisions based on professional criteria
in accordance with the city’s master plan.