Toward Israelization of the Old City of Jerusalem Plan for New Jewish Neighborhood Horns Bedlam over Old City’s Fate
The Israeli government is completely aware of the Oslo Accord agreement, which specifically prohibit any of the involved parties (Palestinians and Israelis) from taking any action that might alter the geographic or the demographic status of East Jerusalem including the Old City, until final status negotiation on the city's fate concluded. Obviously, Israel as always had no weigh for any thing than its own interest and continued to carry out its scheme to control the city and alter the demographic proportion to its favor and thus sway the outcome of negotiation over the city's future. Just within the past 8 weeks, Israel declared its intention to uproot two Palestinian neighborhoods with more than 150 houses under the pretext of building without permission. The targeted neighborhoods, which fall under demolition threat (90 houses at Al-Bustan in Silwan town and 74 houses at Al-Mintar in Sur Baher town), will serve the Israeli aims to expand one Jewish neighborhood and to create a buffer zone for the Segregation Wall being built on Sur Baher lands at this time.
In a provocative step, the planning and zoning committee at the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem approves the construction of 30 new housing units in the Muslim quarter of the Old City near Bab Al-Saharah gate, also known as Herod's gate. The construction plan was turned down by the Israeli Municipality engineer and regarded the new building to be distorting of the city's characteristic features, however and after considerable pressure; he approved the plan with a recommendation to reduce the number of housing units to 21, but was not accepted by the regional planning and zoning committee. was turned The decision to build the new neighborhood came to accommodate 16 Jewish families at a time when the Israeli municipality denies Palestinians building permits not only in the Old City but also outside of it, in addition to banishing nearly 100,000 Palestinians under the Jerusalem Envelope scheme. Furthermore, the newly planned Jewish neighborhood violates different building codes set by the Israeli Municipality for the Old City; starting with building heights, which exceeds the Old City's Wall heights by three stories (10 feet), to the fact that the planned Israeli neighborhood is located less than 10 meters from the Walls of the Old City. See Map 1
The new Jewish neighborhood explicitly violates the Israeli 2020 plan-vision of the Jerusalem including the Old City also known as 'Master Plan-Jerusalem 2000', which is based on strict and firm building regulation in order to maintain the historical and the unique characteristic appearance of the city.
Repercussions of a New Jewish Neighborhood
The news of the new Jewish neighborhood in the Islamic quarter in the Old City did not settle well with the Palestinian leadership or the international community who described this entire episode as provocative and predicament to any progress made in the peace process. The Palestinian people went even further and considered the planned Jewish neighborhood to be a deal breaker and an Israeli pretext to drag the Palestinians yet to another Intifada as the one that broke out after Sharon infamous visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque in the year 2000. Israel relentless efforts to Israelize the Old City and all of Jerusalem has particularly intensified over the last two decades of Israeli occupation as the number of Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem has increased by 104% since 1986 (103,000) comparing to 210,000 in 2004 which indicate massive land confiscation and what seems to be endless streak of construction. See map 2
Illegal, is the word to describe the Israeli settlers status in the Old City and the eastern occupied part of Jerusalem for that matter and this fact is indisputable as the international law, the UN Security Council and every legal forum in the world came to recognize the status of Israel as an occupying power.
Jerusalem, the strangulation of the Arab Palestinian society. July 9, 2005
Ethnic cleansing in Silwan
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem