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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Joe Biden's revenge: Building suspended in Ramat Shlomo

Remember when Joe Biden went bezerk over Jewish building in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood when he was here three years ago? The plans for part of that building were finally approved in December 2012 after a delay because of the whole Biden affair. The bulk of the 1,500 new apartments that had received a preliminary approval while Biden was here were never finally approved.

Now, Merkaz HaInyanim (the Center of Matters), a small freebie newspaper that is distributed in Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, is reporting that as part of the 'peace talks,' and unlike any other Jerusalem neighborhood, the Netanyahu government has forced the suspension of building in Ramat Shlomo. Not only has new construction been suspended, worsening a severe housing crisis for Haredim in Jerusalem, but plans to allow the more than 2,000 families currently living in the neighborhood to expand their apartments have been placed on hold.

The newspaper based itself on a copy of a scathing letter to Netanyahu from Jerusalem Deputy Yossi Deutsch. Deutsch argues that no government has ever suspended building within Jerusalem to the extent that Netanyahu's government has.

Since the Biden incident three years ago, all building plans for Jerusalem must receive the approval of the Prime Minister's office. A new neighborhood building plan was presented which would have retroactively approved expansions that were already made to apartments, and allowed all residents to expand their apartments. Residents who previously expanded their apartments without permits were to have paid an administrative fine, but would not be subject to demolition orders. That plan is now being suspended.

Deutsch writes that there are no foreign policy consequences from allowing apartments in Ramat Shlomo to be expanded - as is allowed in every other Jewish neighborhood in the city - and since the order to suspend construction came directly from Netanyahu's office, one can only wonder why Netanyahu imposed such a building suspension (i.e. it is part of an overall government pattern of discriminating against Haredim). And because the government had decided to prepare an overall neighborhood plan giving permits to all residents to expand their apartments in the same way, individual residents are barred from submitting building plans of their own to legally expand their apartments. The average family size in Ramat Shlomo is eight children per family....

Deutsch and United Torah Judaism Jerusalem City Council faction head Yaakov Halpern (who lives in Ramat Shlomo) are to meet soon with Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), who believes in Jerusalem being the undivided capital of Israel, to convince him to pressure the Prime Minister's office to reverse the decision.

In response, the city (in which the Haredim are a significant faction) may hold up city approval for apartments in the southern end of the city (which are intended for secular residents), which were approved by the government when the negotiations began.

Maybe the government plans to turn Ramat Shlomo over to the 'Palestinians'? (If you look at a map, you will see that turning over Ramat Shlomo while keeping neighborhoods like Ramot, Pisgat Zev, French Hill and Neve Yaakov would be totally bizarre). What could go wrong?

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At 10:41 PM, Blogger Devorah said...

I am going berserk by the spelling of bezerk in this post.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What else did 'they' guarantee to the Palestinians?

The price for Support by the Obama admin against Israel's enemies could cost too much to maintain the state of Israel.

By peace he will deceive many.


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