Construction at Mount of Olives.
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
More east Jerusalem construction is in the pipeline, as news broke Wednesday of
two separate building projects planned for the Mount of Olives, a day after a
130- unit building project in Gilo passed initial approval by the Interior
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The Beit Orot Yeshiva, located in the A-Tur neighborhood,
announced construction had started on 18 new apartments in three separate
buildings of three floors each. The buildings will be located within the yeshiva
compound, and will house married students.
The municipality signed the
building permit, the last step in the long approval process that winds through
the municipality and the Interior Ministry, on Monday.
Also on Wednesday,
Haaretz reported that the Finance Ministry is trying to nearly double the size
of the Seven Arches Hotel, located next to the Mount of Olives
The hotel is sensitive because it used to belong to the
Jordanian royal family, and for diplomatic reasons the government has not made
major changes to it.
The hotel was also the site of the founding
conference of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
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Ministry, which oversees the Custodian of Absentee Property, which is
responsible for the maintenance and finances of the hotel since 1967, flatly
denied than any renovations are planned.
“Our only project that has been
submitted lately was to renew the license of the events tent in the hotel
courtyard,” a Finance Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. He added that
a renovation plan had been submitted in 1994, but it was later
The municipality’s website, however, shows that a plan for
renovating the hotel was deposited with the municipality’s Local Planning and
Building Committee on July 18 of this year. The plan includes the addition of 75
rooms, a swimming pool, and conference rooms, Haaretz reported.
a rare situation where you have the Finance Ministry ... in charge of initiating
plans,” said Hagit Ofran, from Peace Now.
She added that the hotel is
often used by right-wing groups, like Elad, for educational conferences and
events. An Elad spokesman confirmed the organization hosts events in the hotel
but denied that they had anything to do with renovations.
city, meanwhile, a plan for three large residential towers with a total of 130
units in Gilo passed the first stage of approvals from the Interior Ministry’s
Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee on Tuesday.
plan that was promoted very quickly,” said Orly Noy, spokeswoman for Ir Amim, an
NGO that carefully watches east Jerusalem construction. “They just discussed
this last week in the local committee, and they approved it, and then
immediately, a week later, it was in the district committee.”
out that since the end of September, there has been a rush of approvals of east
Jerusalem construction, including 625 units in Pisgat Ze’ev, 1,025 units in Har
Homa, and 320 in Ramot.
These announcements come after a fairly quiet six
months following the Biden fiasco, when an early-stage approval of 1,600 units
in Ramat Shlomo were announced and caused an international
“Because everything is kind of stuck [with the peace
negotiations], the sense is that ‘now’s the time to be grasping what we want,’”
said Noy. “So we’ll face one more condemnation, so what. You see it clearly;
someone waved a green flag and now it’s one after the other.”
Cohanim spokesman Danny Luria pointed out that the announcements are no cause
for celebration, but rather represent the status quo.
“There’s no reason
why there should be any slowdown,” he said. “I hope things will carry on, since
the prime minister and the mayor have all said that there’s no freeze in
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