BUILDING IN JERUSALEM – BACKGROUND
February 24, 1997
- The planned neighborhood to be built in Har Homa is located
in an unpopulated area near Kibbutz Ramat Rahel, within the municipal
boundaries of the city of Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem is a vibrant, growing city. The purpose of the Har
Homa project is to alleviate the housing shortage of both the Jewish
and Arab residents of Jerusalem. As such, it constitutes part of the
overall municipal plan to construct 20,000 new housing units for the
Jewish sector and 8,500 for the Arab sector – a ratio comparable to
that of the Jewish and Arab populations in the city.In this regard, Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently said (Feb.
“We will build in Jerusalem, without conditions, without
restrictions. We will build throughout the city… We are as
committed to the Arab residents of Jerusalem as we are to providing
for the Jewish residents. They, too, need housing, and we will build,
adapting the building plans to the needs of both populations.”
- The Har Homa project necessitated the appropriation of 1,400
dunams from Jewish landowners and 450 dunams from Arab landowners.
The High Court of Justice upheld the government’s right to
appropriate this land in order to meet the housing needs of the
public at large.
- The Ministerial Committee on Jerusalem Affairs decided
(February 18, 1997) to advance the construction of several roads, as part
of the development of the infrastructure of Jerusalem, in order to
reduce traffic congestion in the city and to improve access routes
both to and within the city.
- The development of such an infrastructure is necessary to
serve the growing needs of a Jerusalem as a major city, whose current
population of 500,000 is expected to increase to 800,000 within the
next few years. The resulting improvement in transport will enhance
both the quality of life of Jerusalem’s residents and access from the
periphery to the city center.
- The approved roads in the Jerusalem area are:
- A new road linking Jerusalem with the coastal plain, which
will serve as an alternative to the existing, already congested
- An eastern ring road linking the Arab population centers to
the north (Ramallah and Nablus) and south (Bethlehem and Hebron) of
Jerusalem. This road will enable those traveling between these
centers to bypass the crowded Jerusalem city center, as is customary
in metropolises throughout the world.
- There is no basis to the Palestinian claims that the
planning construction constitutes a violation of the agreements
between Israel and the Palestinians. These agreements do not place
any restrictions on Israeli building in areas under Israeli
- Both the Declaration of Principles (1993) and the Interim
Agreement (1995) state that the issue of Jerusalem will be discussed
in the framework of the permanent status negotiations, and that the
Palestinian side has no authority in Jerusalem during the interim
period. Under these agreements, the Palestinians have no standing to
demand that Israel coordinate building in Jerusalem with them.
For further elaboration see: Har Homa – Legal Aspects.