J'lem c'tee approves Jewish homes in Sheikh Jarrah

Spokesman says municipal planning c'tee will now seek public comment on plan to build 2 buildings containing 13 apartments in east J'lem.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 7, 2011 17:02
1 minute read.
A house belonging to Jews in east Jerusalem's Shei

sheikh jarrah jewish house 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Officials on Monday pushed forward plans to build new Jewish housing in an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, drawing swift condemnation from Palestinians.

The plans include two buildings, containing 13 apartments in all, which are set to be built in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

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In the past, the US has denounced such projects as hampering peace efforts. The US Embassy had no comment on the latest project.

Jerusalem municipal spokesman Elie Isaacson said the municipal planning committee discussed the project on Monday and it will now seek public comment on the plan.

Isaacson said municipal officials are required to discuss all construction plans for the city but emphasized that the project was being promoted by private developers and not the municipality.

"Discriminating against those who issue zoning requests on the basis of their religion, color or creed would be both illegal and completely immoral," he said.

Palestinian spokesman Ghassan Khatib. said in reaction that "a step of this kind will complicate issues further and negatively affect the prospect of resuming negotiations."

City councilman Meir Margalit accused officials of taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt to put the approval process in motion.

"My sense is that they know America is busy with Egypt and doesn't have the strength or the interest in dealing with it now," he said.


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