Brain Bush’s Blog

Jerusalem Arab Development

  • By : Brian Bush
  • September 5, 2014
  • 2:14 pm

Hello Everyone!

Well – here is some news we don't hear about very often…

In fact, it is only the second time in my 21 years of being here that I can recall such a thing…

2,200 housing units on 130 hectares are to be developed for an Arab neighborhood called Jebl Mukaber in Jerusalem.

In addition to the homes it will include the needed infrastructure, roads, businesses, schools, parks, and community centers.

In contrast to building in what is often referred to as West Jerusalem, which is a Jewish area, this plan took 10 years to make and 7 years to get approval through the Jerusalem Municipality.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat put spin on the plan saying it will increase Israeli sovereignty over the city, and that Jerusalem will be the united capital of Israel.

That translates to more taxation, more leverage to demolish Arab building considered illegal by the Israelis, and more settlement development for increasing the Jewish presence in predominantly Arab areas of Jerusalem.

Palestinian residents of the city have long complained about the near impossibility of obtaining permits from the Municipality for building purposes.

They say several obstacles, even committee hearings, prevent non Jews from getting necessary licenses to improve their living situation.

For it's part the Municipality often sites the difficulties and challenges associated with such areas due to lack of tax collection to finance services, rampant illegal construction, and little infrastructure as reasons why there is no action for improvement.

There is also the thorny issue of ownership and registration, because acknowledgement of such means legal protection, which makes it for more difficult for land appropriations for Jewish interests.

But this action will be welcomed and be a feather in the cap of the Mayor's office as it can say now that Arab residents are afforded the same rights and access as Jewish residents – even though there remains huge gaps – it is a step forward towards a peaceful Jerusalem.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LESEA Broadcasting

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