Municipality plans 40,000 new J'lem houses

Over next decade city expected to build several thousand flats in east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods.

har homa 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
har homa 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Jerusalem Municipality is planning 40,000 new apartments throughout the city over the next decade, including several thousand flats in various Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem that have already been approved, the city said Tuesday. The city's announcement of the proposed building, which includes 8,000 flats that are currently being marketed ahead of construction, and an additional 30,000 apartments that are in various planning stages, comes a day after confusion emerged over the government's building policy in east Jerusalem following a radio report, subsequently denied, that all building in the city has to be approved by the premier and defense minister, and amid a severe housing-crunch in the capital. The apartments already being marketed include the roughly 300 in the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, which sparked international condemnation, and a rare US rebuke, as well as various public and private building projects throughout the city, including several in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot and Pisgat Ze'ev, areas that Israel built after the 1967 Six Day War in eastern Jerusalem that are located within the city's expanded municipal lines. Some 180,000 Israelis live in such neighborhoods, which are expected to remain part of Israel under any peace treaty. Until now, only building in the West Bank required the prime minister and defense minister's authorization. The building projects already approved would not need the authorization of the premier or Defense Ministry - even if there is going to be a new government policy on building in east Jerusalem, which is uncertain. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski said Monday that a reported government freeze on construction in east Jerusalem neighborhood was "illegal," and vowed to keep building throughout the capital. Jerusalem opposition leader Nir Barkat, who has lead a public campaign against a proposed division of the capital, said that a decision to freeze building in east Jerusalem would make Olmert the first Israeli prime minister since the end of the British mandate in 1948 to enact "a White Paper" for the capital, a reference to the infamous 1939 British policy which limited Jewish immigration to Palestine. A Construction and Housing Ministry spokesman said that Israel was continuing to build in Jerusalem. Palestinians demand all of east Jerusalem - including the city's holy sites - as the capital of their future state.