Opening of W. Bank police station halted

Follows fierce PA criticism for structure in E-1; Public Security Ministry cites technical reasons.

Maaleh Adumim 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Maaleh Adumim 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The opening of a new Israeli police station in the West Bank has been indefinitely postponed due to "bureaucratic reasons," the Public Security Ministry said Sunday. The station, which is located between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, was to be inaugurated on Monday. The opening of the station was delayed solely for "bureaucratic and technical reasons," Public Security Ministry spokesman Sari Barak said. The police had not received the necessary approval from the Ma'aleh Adumim Municipality's Fire and Rescue Services, she said. The problem was a bureaucratic one that would be resolved within two to three weeks, Ma'aleh Adumim Municipality spokesman Hezky Zissman said,. The delay in the station's inauguration coincided with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Israel. The US has strongly opposed Israeli construction in the area. The surprise announcement of the delay came just days after the ministry announced that the station would open on Monday. The station is meant to replace the dilapidated police station in east Jerusalem, which has served as the Judea and Samaria Police headquarters for decades. Three years ago, the government of former prime minister Ariel Sharon froze a residential construction project in the area, but continued with the building of the police station. The building proposal, comprising 3,500 housing units on the outskirts of Ma'aleh Adumim, was part of a decade-old government plan known as E-1, which was meant to link the suburban Jerusalem settlement to the capital. The proposal faced serious Palestinian opposition, as it would complete a circle of Jewish settlements around east Jerusalem, cutting the city off from the West Bank.