PM urged to OK Betar Illit construction

Economic Affairs Committee calls to speed up approval process for 560 new apartment units.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL,
August 13, 2008 23:27
2 minute read.
PM urged to OK Betar Illit construction

Beitar Construction 224.. (photo credit: Courtesy [file])

 
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 analysis 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

The Knesset's Economic Affairs Committee called on the prime minister Wednesday to speed up the final approval process for 560 new apartment units in the haredi city of Betar Illit, which is located less than a kilometer over the Green Line. In April, Shas leader Eli Yishai said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had promised to allow the building of 877 units in the city. But so far only 317 units have been approved. Nonetheless, the 317 units are the second largest West Bank project to be approved this year. The project is topped only by Olmert's authorization of 550 units in a 750-unit haredi project in the mixed settlement of Givat Ze'ev. These two projects make up the bulk of newly approved construction in Judea and Samaria this year. While construction is ongoing in many settlements across the West Bank, it is based on old permits. Only a smattering of small-scale projects have been approved in non-haredi settlements, of which one of the largest has been 100 new homes in the Mevo Heron settlement. That permit was a result of the voluntary evacuation of an outpost just outside the settlement. MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ), who addressed the Knesset Economics Committee on Wednesday, took the government to task for failing to approve the remaining 560 units in Betar Illit. "This is all politics," Litzman told The Jerusalem Post. "There is no other reason to delay the approval." According to Litzman, the additional 560 units were approved by the Housing Ministry and the Defense Ministry, but had stalled in the Prime Minister's Office. "This has two major side effects," explained Litzman. "First, it causes prices to rise in Jerusalem because people can't move out of the city and into Betar Illit. And second, it implies a certain level of uncertainty as to the status of Betar Illit, as if there were any question about building there as part of the policy." Litzman requested that the committee hold a follow-up meeting at the start of the next Knesset session, in late October, to assess whether there had been progress in the Betar Illit project, as well as in other projects approved in 2008. The international community, as well as the Palestinians, have criticized Israel for building in the settlements. They charge that such construction harms the ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians toward a final-status solution. In addition they have said that such construction prevents the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. When asked about Betar Illit, Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said, "the policy of the government is to allow for construction inside existing settlement communities and within the built-up areas [of those communities]. Within that framework [construction in] Betar Illit is possible. It is only 400 meters from the Green Line." Betar Illit Mayor Meir Rubinstein said he was hopeful the government would authorize the additional permits. About a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem, Betar Illit is the third largest settlement in the West Bank and one of the fastest growing ones. Only Modi'in Illit, also a haredi settlement and located just over the Green Line, is expanding at a faster rate.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN

Cookie Settings