Egypt condemns building in J'lem neighborhood of Gilo

"This step reflects Israel's choice to continue provocative policies, challenge everyone in the int'l community," Egyptian FM says.

By REUTERS, MELANIE LIDMAN
September 28, 2011 16:41
1 minute read.
Gilo overlooks all of west Jerusalem

Gilo panorama 311. (photo credit: Matthias Guggisberg)

 
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Egypt on Wednesday condemned an Israeli decision to construct 1,100 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located over the 1967 Green Line.

"This step reflects an Israeli choice to continue in its provocative policies and to challenge everyone in the international community that sees settlement construction as illegitimate," Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said in a statement.

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PA: Gilo construction is an obstacle to peace process

The project, called the Southern Slopes of Gilo, raised strong condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, the UN and the US, just days after the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN drew the world’s attention to the region last week.

Netanyahu called the Gilo project “nothing new” in an interview with The Jerusalem Post this week.

“We plan in Jerusalem. We build in Jerusalem. Period. The same way Israeli governments have been doing for 44 years, since the end of the 1967 war,” he said.

An Interior Ministry committee gave initial approval to the new project on Tuesday.

The initial approval from the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee means the public now has 60 days to file oppositions to the project.

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Some Gilo residents are worried the neighborhood is growing too quickly and needs additional infrastructure, especially roads, before new apartment buildings.

Though the project will be built partially on the open areas of the Gilo forest, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel said it is not opposed to the project because it understands the city needs to expand, said Avraham Shaked, the coordinator for the Jerusalem Hills area.

The project will include a promenade, school, commercial center, open areas, and public buildings.

Gilo is one of the five ring neighborhoods in the capital that were developed immediately after the Six Day War.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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