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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Brits don't know what's being built but they know they're against it

British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould showed striking ignorance on Tuesday, as he condemned Israeli building in Jerusalem without understanding what he was condemning.
"This in unhelpful and a disappointment to those who want to see the sides turn a corner", the ambassador said to the reporters, who were unsure of what projects he was referring to. Gould said the announcement of a new construction project in the settlements "took the shine off" the Amman meeting between Yitzhak Molcho and Saeb Erekat.

The only problem is that there was no new announcement of a new construction project beyond the Green Line. What there was, however, was publication by the Israel Land Authority of tenders for 312 units in Pisgat Ze'ev and Har Homa. These tenders were already announced a week ago.

After his initial condemnation, Gould clarified the matter and issued a statement saying that the Israeli government "has made clear to us that there has been no new announcement of tenders for building in east Jerusalem today, and that reports of such new tenders were incorrect. This is a welcome reassurance."

One official said this incident reflects confusion over how the planning process in the country works, with the same project – which must go through numerous steps on its way from initial design to final approval – often being condemned at every new station along the way as an "announcement of a new settlement project."

A British embassy spokesperson said Gould based his initial condemnation on a statement put out by Ir Amim, a left-wing NGO that monitors building in Jerusalem.

According to that statement, "Today, January 3, as Israeli and Palestinian representatives meet in Jordan at the behest of King Abdullah in order to restart negotiations, the Israel Lands Authority published tenders for 312 units in East Jerusalem – in Har Homa B and Pisgat Zeev. The timing of this notice is a slap in the face to Jordan…"

The tenders published by the Israel Land Administration represent the last step in the complicated approval process for construction in Israel, which can take up to a decade to complete.

The Har Homa and Pisgat Zev projects have already passed all of the approval steps from the Jerusalem Municipality and the Interior Ministry, and has already been condemned by many in the international community.


Tzabar called Gould's comments "cheeky," and added that the ILA considers Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev part of Jerusalem. "There are people outside of Israel that really don’t understand [the process], and just follow whatever the Arabs are saying," she said.
Just like Joe Biden on Ramat Shlomo two years ago. These people are so anxious to condemn us, they don't even bother to understand what they're condemning.

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At 2:48 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

I read the other day that not only have Israeli individuals bought lots and tracts of land, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) also has bought land from Arab owners. Anybody know if there is a map of that? And what about that article a few weeks back re Israel buying the Golan Heights from Syria? Is there any documentation or video interviews on that? There has to be somewhere and it all needs to be compiled into one website on the topic of land ownership by year, etc.


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