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Photo: Gil Yohanan
Boim: Construction must continue
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Lupolianksi suspended Safdie plan
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Housing minister: We won't stop building in Jerusalem
Boim speaks out against division of capital, insists on continuing construction in city despite US objections
Housing and Construction Minister Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) called Sunday for building to continue in sensitive areas in Jerusalem.

 

"Jerusalem has municipal boundaries that were established and within these domains it is our right to build. If we don't say this, we are pulling the rug out from under ourselves and placing a question mark on certain neighborhoods -- from Ramot Eshkolot to Gilo. That is unacceptable," Boim declared during a speech he made at a Jerusalem municipality economic forum meeting.

 

Minister Boim made his remarks following recent controversy surrounding the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa which has caused strained relations with the US and drawn criticism from US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

 

"We clearly explained our position to the US. It is permissible and even necessary to argue with friends about this. America's position with regards to Jerusalem is not new – since the days of (former Prime Minister David) Ben-Gurion they didn't accept this. They accept it de facto and not de jure."

 

During his speech, Boim said that, following a request by the US ambassador to Israel, he laid the map of planned construction in Har Homa out in front of him.

 

"I showed him that the planning stages started 11-12 years ago. The matter was made public made during a sensitive time and I'm not saying that we need to raise a fuss like what was done during the Shamir government. But, this doesn't mean that we need to halt the construction."

 

'Berlin wall fell, no more divided capitals'

Minister Boim had some harsh words for Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon who has suggested that some east Jerusalem neighborhoods be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty as part of a negotiated solution to the conflict.

 

"There is no reason or need and it is not possible to divide and share sovereignty over our capital city."

 

"There is not one capital city in the world that is divided," Boim added. "The only capital city with a wall was Berlin, it fell, just like we brought down the wall in Jerusalem 40 years ago."

 

The Housing Minister also said that it would be a good idea to reexamine the Safdie plan. Named after architect Moshe Safdie who designed the project, the plan was to create a development that would include about 20,000 housing units over an area of 26,600 dunams in the hills west of Jerusalem, combining most municipalities in the area into one contiguous block.

 

The plan was sharply opposed by environmental groups because of its expected adverse effects on the local wildlife habitats and was ultimately suspended by Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski earlier this year.

 

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