PMO: Gov't policy on e. J'lem unchanged

Coexistence group Ir Amim claims to have details of secret plan to change landscape of contested land.

east jerusalem 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
east jerusalem 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Longstanding Israeli government policy regarding the development of east Jerusalem remains unchanged, the Prime Minister's Office said Sunday. "The government will continue to develop Jerusalem, development that will benefit all of Jerusalem's diverse population and respect the different faiths and communities that together make Jerusalem such a special city," an official in the Prime Minister's Office said. His remarks come as two fringe groups, Peace Now and Ir Amim, have assailed continued years-old Israeli development in east Jerusalem, including tourism sites, parks and Mount of Olives cemetery renovations, which they say could thwart a future division of the city. Peace Now condemned Israeli governments for investing tens of thousands of shekels each year since 2006 in the development of the Old City and Mount of Olives. "If the implementation of this plan continues, it might turn the issue of Jerusalem, and specifically the Old City basin, into a non-solvable issue, possibly preventing the ability to reach a two state solution," Peace Now said in a report. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel differentiates between building building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. The US administration and the international community are opposed to all Israeli construction in either area. Last week, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat presented a city master plan for the next two decades which envisions the the capital becoming the greenest city in Israel, and includes affordable housing for young residents, as well the construction of thousands of new apartments for Arab resident of east Jerusalem. The plan is pending final state approval, with opponents granted 90 days to voice any objections. The grandiose plan, which was nearly a decade in planning and dates back to the administration of former Mayor Ehud Olmert, is the first municipal plan for the city in half a century.