US Embassy in Jerusalem gets further construction approval

The plans have been in the works for two years.

A worker hangs a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A worker hangs a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Jerusalem Regional Planning Committee approved plans to expand the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
The plans are now open to objections and then the municipal committee, which already approved the plans, will review any proposed changes.
The approved plan for a project to be completed by 2026 includes two properties, the embassy’s current location in Arnona – which would expand to five floors – and a ten-story building in the nearby Allenby area, or northern Arnona. The second property could include the ambassador's residence, staff housing, a recreation center and other diplomatic uses.
The new embassy campus would have 630 office workers, 400 of whom are meant to be locals, and 450 non-office workers, 380 of whom would be locals.
Map of the expanded US Embassy in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Municipality)Map of the expanded US Embassy in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Municipality)
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said: "We are thrilled that after two years of careful planning and coordination, the regional committee for building and planning has approved the plans.
"The new US embassy compound and the development of the current one will bring jobs to the neighborhood and economic development to the South part of the city," she said. "I also envision an embassy district in the area with the US embassy as its anchor."
Last month, some residents of the area lamented the change to The Jerusalem Post.
Among them is Miryam Shomrat, who was the Israeli ambassador to Finland from 2000 to 2003 and to Norway from 2005 to 2008.
“It’s inconceivable that a fast-track permit originally granted in 2018 for a limited modification will be expanded to mean a construction of a 50,000 square meter compound,” she said. 
 “I live on the fourth floor, if they build a five-floor building, the view of all families in my building and in all the buildings that face the compound will vanish from sight,” she added. 
Other residents, like Arnie Draiman, think that this is "the price you have to pay to live in a capital city" and support the change.  
Former US president Donald Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017, a decision President Joe Biden said he will not reverse.