Expansion plan for east J'lm neighborhood 'a severe blow to two-state' solution

Left-wing advocates are more concerned than ever about Israel's pending decision regarding the expansion of Nof Zion, which they say will change the character of an already volatile east Jerusalem.

Jabel Mukaber, east Jerusalem  (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Jabel Mukaber, east Jerusalem
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Local Committee for Planning and Construction in the Jerusalem Municipality will discuss on Sunday a plan to expand the Jewish neighborhood of Nof Zion in the city’s east by 176 housing units.
If the plan is approved, Nof Zion will the biggest among the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem within an Arab neighborhood.
For now, there are 91 housing units in the neighborhood, which is surrounded by the southeastern Arab neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber.
During the 1990s, real-estate contractors purchased a plot of land in Jebl Mukaber from Arabs and prepared a construction plan for the area.
In 1994, the construction of 395 housing units was approved, and in the early 2000s the first phase of the project saw the construction of the current 91 housing units in Nof Zion.
About a year ago, Shemini Properties Ltd., which owns a significant portion of the plot, requested construction permits for 13 buildings to contain a total of 176 housing units, which will be discussed in Sunday’s meeting.
Peace Now condemned the request, and said approving an expansion of a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem would be yet another move damaging the two-state solution.
“It appears that the government has opened all the floodgates when it comes to settlement developments within Palestinian neighborhoods,” the NGO said in a statement.
“Building a large settlement in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood would constitute a severe blow to Jerusalem and to the chance to arrive at a two-state solution. This is not a matter of real estate but a matter of politics and sovereignty, as the Israelis moving to homes inside Palestinian neighborhoods are motivated solely by ideology, and are trying to prevent a future compromise in Jerusalem.”