A few days ago Jerusalem announced their plan to build some 2,200 homes for Arabs in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Arav al-Swahara.
This is a very run down area of Jerusalem, According to the Times of Israel
Arab residents of Jerusalem often accuse the municipality of failing to approve plans for housing in their neighborhoods while actively promoting Jewish housing in the east of the city, forcing many Arabs to resort to illegal construction. Hundreds of illegally built Arab houses have been demolished in East Jerusalem over the past decade, according to figures compiled by Israeli NGOs.
Oh G-d! How dare they build homes for Arabs in Jerusalem?
After all where is the hysteria that accompanied the announcement of some 283 Israeli homes using unowned vacant land, which is part of the area which will be kept as part of any future land swap should the Arabs ever decide they want peace?
The outcry over ‘land appropriation” by Israel made headlines around the world.
Yet there has hardly been a mention of this in the international media. Why?
The Jerusalem Local Building and Planning Committee on Wednesday approved a large construction plan for an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem over the objections of right-wing city Councillors. The plan for the Arav al-Swahara neighborhood extends over 1,500 dunams (375 acres) and calls for building 2,200 homes.
Although Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Deputy Mayor Koby Kahlon, who chairs the building and planning committee, had been trying to get this plan passed for several years, it was repeatedly blocked by right-wing activists in conjunction with Haredi city councilmen. Following legal action by neighborhood residents, with the help of the Hebrew University’s International Human Rights Legal Clinic and attorney Ziad Kawar, the Jerusalem District Court ordered the city council to debate the plan and make a decision.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat praised the decision, saying,
“The planning of neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem by the municipality is a clear expression of Israeli sovereignty over all parts of the city and strengthens the unity of Jerusalem.”
Seth J. Frantzman says:
Even if the Jerusalem municipality wants to build 2,200 houses there, it won’t be able to construct houses that the Arab residents want to live in. To put it simply, most of them don’t want small standardized apartments, the want to live in houses, often multi-level for their extended families. They don’t want 70 sq meter apartments to be packed in like sardines; but large homes with areas to welcome guests and parking and privacy.
If Arabs want large houses, like those that I saw in Israel and houses like those illegally built in the Negev, then they had better move out of Jerusalem and go where they can build what they want.
They can’t have Israel build homes for them and then complain they aren’t good enough.