Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says he refuses to apologize for building in capital

After US censures Israel for plans to build 2,610 new units in Givat Hamatos, beyond the Green Line, Barkat says the construction is essential; Netanyahu: US should learn the facts first.

By
October 2, 2014 11:10
1 minute read.
nir barkat

JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat speaks to The Jerusalem Post in City Hall’s Safra Square Thursday morning, hours before six rockets invade Jerusalem air space. . (photo credit: ELI MANDELBAUM)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Following a stinging rebuke from the United States government that approved Israeli housing construction in east Jerusalem’s Arab Givat HaMatos neighborhood will “poison the atmosphere,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat defended the development on Thursday, adding that he refused to apologize.

“I say this firmly and clearly: building in Jerusalem is not poisonous and harmful – rather, it is essential, important and will continue with full force,” Barkat said in a statement. “I will not freeze construction for anyone in Israel’s capital.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Moreover, Barkat dismissed the US’s criticism as a form of discrimination “based on religion, race or gender” which is “illegal in the United States, and in any other civilized country.”

According to Barkat, the 2,600 apartments to be built in the disputed neighborhood were approved two years ago to provide affordable housing for young Jerusalem residents who cannot afford the capital’s notoriously prohibitive home prices.

“This will enable more young people from all sectors and religions to live in Jerusalem and build their future here, thereby strengthening the capital of Israel,” he said. “We will not apologize for that.”

Asked if the Jerusalem Municipality coordinated the sensitive announcement with the Prime Minister’s Office, Barkat’s spokesperson said no.

Earlier this month the municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee approved a large-scale development plan for Arab residents of east Jerusalem’s Jebl Mukaber neighborhood, featuring 2,200 housing units and 130 hectares for additional infrastructure.



Two days after voicing pronounced discontent and filing a petition against the Jerusalem Municipality for approving the sprawling expansion of the Arab neighborhood, Barkat fired right-wing councilman Arieh King (United Jerusalem).

Related Content

August 17, 2018
Cyprus serving as Gaza’s port still in early stages

By HERB KEINON