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Monday, March 22, 2010

Like building in Tel Aviv?

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel would continue to build anywhere in Jerusalem and that building in Jerusalem is no different than building in Tel Aviv. How many of you believe that? I don't. Here's my best guess of where Israel is and is not likely to be building in the foreseeable future.

1. Israel will continue to build in parts of Jerusalem that were part of the City before 1967. That would be the older parts of the City: Downtown, Rechavia, Telbieh, Bayit Vegan, Har Nof, Beit HaKerem, Kiryat HaYovel - all of those neighborhoods will continue to build normally.

2. In neighborhoods that are over the green line but are predominantly Jewish like Ramot, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Sanhedria Murchevet and Ramat Shlomo, building will continue on existing projects and projects that are in the approval pipeline will continue the approval process. But no new construction will be started and no new approval processes will be started.

3. You won't see any more construction or evictions of Arab squatters from Jewish-owned property in predominantly Arab neighborhoods like Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah), Ir David (Silwan), Maalat Har HaZeitim (Ras al-Amud). What will be done with Jewish housing currently under construction in those neighborhoods remains to be seen, but I have my doubts whether the owners will be allowed to take possession in the foreseeable future, and certainly not before September or whatever date the 'freeze' ends.

You see, Netanyahu has to keep up the impression that he is standing up to Obama in Jerusalem because the Israeli public insists on it. Obama understands that and will try to play along, as he was doing for the last year.

For the record, my only bases for the guidelines I just outlined are the de facto freeze that Netanyahu implemented in Jerusalem at least until last August, the 'compromise' that Shimon Peres proposed last week, and the relative speed with which this 'crisis' has apparently blown over. If any of you think I'm wrong, put it in the comments. And if any of you Jerusalemites find any construction that violates the rules above, please let me know.

The picture at the top is the Azrieli Towers complex in Tel Aviv, where the 'beautiful people' go to play.


At 5:47 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - if the government does impose a freeze, it doesn't have enough inspectors to enforce it in the greater Jerusalem area. The Israeli government hasn't been to prevent illegal construction in the Arab sector. And Jews in Jerusalem need inexpensive new homes to live in. If they can't get them legally, they will build no matter what the government says. And its a different matter to "dry out" 200,000 people as opposed to 10,000 in the Gush Katif and they can't all be expelled. So implementing even a defacto freeze would be a lot more difficult than the Israeli government and the Obami imagine.


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