Attorney Elisha Peleg
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Yosef "Pepe" Alalu
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Just a week before the Jerusalem Municipality's local Planning and Construction Committee is set to discuss the construction of 1,400 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood, the committee approved Monday two construction plans in areas that weren't under Israeli sovereignty before 1967.
The committee approved the construction of 92 housing units in a 12-storey building in the Talipiot East neighborhood and 32 additional housing units in Pisgat Zeev East, including the construction of four new buildings connected by joint stairwells.
The permit gives contractors the green light to begin construction. Attorney Elisha Peleg Chairman of the Likud faction in Jerusalem's Municipality told Ynet: "The fact that the construction is beyond the Green Line is of little importance since it is clear that the only available land is in that area.
Peleg, a member of the Planning and construction Committee added: "The permits for these two projects aren't any form of declaration for Jerusalem as the city is suffering from a severe shortage of available housing units and if the government doesn't market additional land for public construction as soon as possible – then there won't be a scrap of land available for construction in the foreseeable future."
The chairman of the municipal opposition on behalf of the Meretz faction, Yosef "Pepe" Alalu said that permits like these only distance the young population from Jerusalem. "If the Jerusalem Municipality thinks that this is the way to battle against the negative migration of youngsters – it is mistaken.
"These provocations will only aggravate the dispute and we will end up with the opposite result – an exodus of thousands who only wish to live in peace."
He believes that "the mayor has obviously decided to prove his strength when he realized the Americans' attention is elsewhere. It is very strange that when it comes to sealing Beit Yehonatan he says it isn't the time for provocations but when the issue is construction for Jews – he finds the time for provocations."
Steps like those taken by the municipality have aroused severe international criticism towards Israel with claims that construction of this kind is illegal construction on occupied territory.
The municipality stated that "there has been no change in Jerusalem's construction policy in the past 40 years. The municipality continues to promote construction for Jews and Arabs alike according to the accepted project outline. New construction is essential so that the younger population and students will be able to live and purchase apartments in Jerusalem. It is also necessary for the city's development.
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