Some 30 Peace Now activists staged a demonstration on Thursday outside the Beit Orot yeshiva in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur, in protest of a decision
to build 24 new housing units in four structures in the area.
The protestors held signs reading, "Beit Orot - irreversible damage," "Two capitals for two states" and "Al-Tur is a Palestinian neighborhood." The decision to build the housing units was approved earlier this week by the Regional Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem.
Demonstration outside yeshiva (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The person responsible for the project is Jewish American businessman Irving Moskowitz, who is considered the main sponsor of the Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem.
"In the past few weeks and every few days, the Jerusalem Municipality has been swiftly promoting provocative construction plans in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city," Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer told Ynet.
"This should bother anyone supporting a two-state solution. Beit Orot is a provocation by the extreme Right and its implementation will cause great diplomatic damage."
Oppenheimer clarified that the protest would continue in the coming days and that the movement plans to recruit public figures and Knesset members to join the battle.
Jerusalem Council Member Meir Margalit (Meretz), who also took part in the demonstration, said that "although we were less than three quorums, we proved to the history books that there are still sane Israelis left in this city. We saved some of the ethics, morals and humanitarian values left in the Land of Israel. This has is an important symbolic meaning."
He explained why he believes the constriction in the area is problematic. "It's no different than the damage in any other settlement in east Jerusalem, when Jews with a political agenda infiltrate Arab neighborhoods. Any additional settler in this place is another nail in the coffin of peace."
Margalit claimed that the timing of the decision to build the structures was not a coincidence. "These provocations are aimed at making it more difficult than ever on Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas), now when he is so close to the negotiations table, according to foreign reports. We expect more provocations of the same nature in the coming days."