Injunction issued against Shepherd Hotel project

Attorney for The Muslim Committee in Israel says planned construction of 20 apartment units is "both illegal, an act of political revenge."

east Jerusalem demolition 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
east Jerusalem demolition 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
A new NGO that describes itself as seeking to preserve Muslim sites in Israel secured on Sunday a temporary injunction against the construction of 20 apartment units at the controversial site of the former Shepherd Hotel in east Jerusalem.
The order was issued by an Interior Ministry appeals committee, which plans to hold a meeting on the legality of the project on Wednesday.
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The old hotel, located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, had been attached to the 1930’s-era home of Jerusalem’s grand mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who worked for Nazis during World War II.
In spite of harsh international objections, the hotel was knocked down last week by Jewish developers of the property.
Husseini’s home is still standing and will be preserved as part of the project. It’s expected that it will be turned into a synagogue.
California businessman Irving Moskowitz purchased the structure – the hotel and the home – in 1985.
Attorney for The Muslim Committee in Israel, Kais Nasser, told The Jerusalem Post, that he was granted the appeal after he questioned the legality of the building permit for the 20 units.
He charged that project plans to convert the home of the former mufti, which is still standing at the site, are both illegal and an act of political revenge.
Ateret Cohanim executive director Daniel Luria told the Post that the project was legal. The injunction, he said, was one of a number of attempts to halt construction of the apartment units and he imagined that it would not be the last.
He said he believed that the project would survive all legal challenges and move forward.
The Moskowitz family does not have a spokesman for the matter. Luria made his comments because Ateret Cohanim has partnered with the Moskowitzs in the past in supporting Jewish building projects in predominantly Arab neighborhoods.