Building in Gilo. A question of timing?
Photo: Reuters
Gilo building plan on agenda again
After being removed from agenda, developer's controversial request for rezoning land for residential use to be debated by planning committee

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Washington just two weeks ago, yet the construction plan for east Jerusalem which created such embarrassment in America is already back on the agenda.


After the original debate for the plan was postponed, apparently due to political pressure, Jerusalem's planning committee is to debate on Monday the use of land between Gilo and the village of Beit Safafa for 130 housing units beyond the "Green Line" (the pre-67 border).


Though the plan will be discussed next week, it is unlikely to be approved due to disagreements over planning issues. The rezoning of the land, originally set aside for hotels, was requested by a private developer, yet the city's policy goes against the request to change the zoning to a residential area.


Opposition chairperson at the Town Hall, Yossi Alalo, who is also a member of the planning committee, opposed the debate on the plan.


"It is sad that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and committee chairperson Kobi Kahlon decided to go on with this provocation," he said. "They're putting a plan on the agenda which goes against the consensus, and I don't believe it will be carried out. However, it will harm our relations with the US and the Palestinians."


The developer wants to construct three 11-floor residential buildings even though the master-plan for the area permits buildings of up to six floors only.



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