East Jerusalem 311.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Mayor Nir Barkat and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced a
half-billion shekel, five-year improvement plan for roads in east Jerusalem on
The plan will create 32 new roads and improve existing roads
in the capital’s Arab neighborhoods.
“This is a message to every resident
of Jerusalem and every resident in east Jerusalem, that here we are
strengthening Jerusalem in every way possible, both to get into Jerusalem as
well as within Jerusalem, for every sector of the population that lives here,”
said Katz. “On top of all this, we need to strengthen Jerusalem as the united
capital, and to show that we are concerned for every citizen.”
acknowledged that decades of neglect had created serious gaps between east and
west Jerusalem’s infrastructure, but he said the 32 new streets are “part of a
The plan will budget approximately NIS 50 million per year for
the next five years for new roads. Other parts of the plan will upgrade existing
roads, including building sidewalks and improving accessibility around schools.
Also, NIS 20 million will be dedicated to developing roads that provide an
alternative to the clogged Highway 1, Jerusalem’s main entrance and
Additionally, Barkat announced a budget of NIS 300 million for 200
new classrooms in east Jerusalem. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel,
which researches education disparities in east Jerusalem, estimates a lack of
“We know there is a clear connection between
infrastructure development and the blossoming of the city,” Barkat said, adding
that the connections between poverty, crime and illegal building are clear.
“There is no question [this plan] will significantly improve the city,” he
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The improvements for roads in east Jerusalem include eight new
roads in Shuafat and Beit Hanina, three new roads in Isawiya, two new roads on
the Mount of Olives and in Wadi Joz, eight new roads in a-Tur, Ras el-Amud and
Silwan, four new roads in Beit Safafa, and seven new roads in the Tzur
Bahar/Jebl Mukaber neighborhood.
There are no plans for improving roads
in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem that are located on the Palestinian territory
side of the separation barrier but still located within municipal Jerusalem. The
infrastructure in these neighborhoods, home to approximately 60,000 Arab
residents, is among the worst in the city.
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