Latest update: December 20th, 2012
The Arabs of the PA, on the other hand, are already building, quite illegally, in the E-1 area. The corridor that was to serve as the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adumim route has already been narrowed in many places from two kilometers to one (3/5 of a mile). The Arabs are seeking to gain absolute access to eastern Jerusalem via existing villages of Azariya, Abu Dis, and others. This would leave Jerusalem as it was before the Six-Day War: totally closed off on the east.
In short, if Israel were to lose control of E-1 because of illegal Arab construction and diplomatic pressure, the contiguity of Israel would be severely compromised in the region of its capital city.
Despite this, Prime Minister Netanyahu was quick to assure the world, in the Cabinet meeting just two days after the E-1 announcement, that he was not about to embark on actually “building” E-1, but merely that zoning and planning the neighborhood would continue to its next stage.
We at KeepJerusalem.org are hopeful that the Netanyahu government will not back down in the face of international pressure. He must stand true to his commitment to counter the dangerous upgrading of the PA’s status – which encourages the PA populace to believe that Israel’s destruction is not far-fetched and brings war closer – by strengthening Jerusalem and, as a result, the entire state of Israel.
At the same time, plans for another new neighborhood – this one inside southern Jerusalem – are well underway, and are expected to be approved by the Jerusalem municipality this month; more on this development in our column next week.
About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.
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