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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Har Homa’

Snide Remarks from State Dept. Over Jerusalem Housing Plans

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The United States has — again — expressed its strong disapproval over the latest plans to build badly-needed housing in an overcrowded Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The district planning and building committee today (Monday, Nov. 3) approved 500 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo section of Jerusalem, an area built after the 1967 Six Day War. The State Department slammed the move, calling it “unfortunate” and “illegitimate.”

A week ago, the prime minister’s office approved plans to build 600 new housing units in the same neighborhood, in addition to 400 units in Har Homa, another post-1967 neighborhood in the capital.

Washington said at that point that Israel was taking steps that were “not conducive to peace in the region and a two-state solution.”

The State Department expressed “deep concern” over plans for what it called “settlement construction” in Jerusalem, in a loud echo of the anger bellowing from microphones in the Palestinian Authority.

But none of the neighborhoods in Jerusalem even faintly resembles a “settlement” and there is nothing remotely agrarian or rural about any of them.

Nevertheless, while meeting with U.S. officials in Washington, PA spokesperson Abu Rudaineh called today’s housing approval a “direct challenge” to the Obama administration” in a clear attempt to provoke the U.S. into attacking Israel.

A spokesperson for the far left ‘Peace Now’ organization eagerly aided and abetted the effort, telling the AFP news agency the approved housing units in Ramat Shlomo would “expand” the neighborhood’s existing “settlement.”

To put this all in perspective, please note that the average Israeli residential high-rise in Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood, not far from the Central Bus Station, is built with eight to ten floors and features two or four units on each floor. So we are talking about the equivalent of perhaps a dozen to eighteen high-rise buildings – maybe double that if they are smaller. An addition of two streets, maybe.

This is called “expansion” of a “settlement?” Really?

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki underlined the sharp disappointment of the Obama government with the decision in her news briefing, claiming that Israel had no interest in peace with the Palestinian Authority because the housing project had been approved.

“Obviously, if they were going to restart a peace negotiation we would be seeing actions,” she said. “Actions like these are contrary to that objective.”

Oddly, she made no mention of the Palestinian Authority unity government’s violation of the cease-fire agreement on Friday night, by allowing Gaza terrorists to fire a rocket at southern Israel. The rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council district but did not injure anyone and did not cause property damage.

For some strange reason, Psaki and her boss have not considered the multiple violations of the cease-fire that have taken place since August to be ‘actions’ that signal the Palestinian Authority has no interest in “restarting a peace negotiation.”

A thinking person targeted in a rocket attack or some other form of terrorist violence (such as a shooting, rock attack or firebombing) might actually think that “actions like these are contrary to that objective.”

No?

Netanyahu OK’s New Housing in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this morning inked his approval on plans for new building projects in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. But it’s important to remember that such approval is only the first step in a very, very long process that often takes literally years to come to fruition.

And sometimes such projects don’t ever really come to pass. The red tape is just that complicated.

Today (Monday, Oct. 27) Netanyahu authorized plans to move forward for 1,060 such units in Jerusalem neighborhoods built after the 1967 Six Day War, according his spokesperson.

Officials said 660 of the units are to be built in the Har Homa neighborhood, and another 600 are planned for the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

Yesterday (Oct. 26), Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the prime minister’s office has been negotiating with the Judea and Samaria Communities Council over a deal to end the de facto freeze on Jewish construction in the regions.

According to the report, Netanyahu’s representatives discussed the construction of new roads in Samaria, including a new bypass road to circumvent Shechem’s dangerous Hawara neighborhood. Other new roads would include routes to the communities of Immanuel and Eli, and plans to widen Highway 60, where Arab road terror attacks are frequent and not easily evaded.

Several youth villages are planned as well as a number of new parks, and a boardwalk in the Etzion bloc in memory of the three murdered yeshiva students, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar.

In addition, the prime minister has reportedly agreed to the construction of some 2,000 new housing units, most to be built within the current settlement blocs.

Millions of shekels are to be invested in the project, according to the report, which noted the move followed a meeting between Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.

Jerusalem Approves 350 Homes for Jews in City’s ‘Settlements’

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Jerusalem Municipality’s Committee for Planning and Building has approved the construction of another 350 residential units in Jerusalem neighborhoods that the United States and United Nations consider “illegal” and home to “illegitimate” Jews.

The neighborhoods are Har Homa, across the highway from the Gilo “settlement” in southern Jerusalem, and Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Yaakov, both of them located on the northern end of the capital.

The city’s deputy mayor Pepep Alalu of the left-wing Meretz party sharply criticized the announcement by the committee and called it an intention ploy to prevent a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Toa certain extent he is right if it agreed that anything Israel does without the approval of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is an obstacle to an agreement.

That is the one-way policy that the Obama administration has pursued and which assumes that Abbas’ demands are the basis for a final agreement, except perhaps for the demand to flood Israel with several million foreign Arabs under the hijacked phrase ”right of return.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “framework: that is to be dumped on the Palestinian Authority-Israeli negotiating table some time in the near future undoubtedly will not tackle the issue of the Jewish neighborhoods that the West calls “settlements.”

No one in his right mind, not even PA negotiator Saeb Erekat seriously thinks that Israel will expel 300,000 Jews form Har Homa, Gilo, Armon HaNatziv, French Hill and Ramot neighborhoods.

The only reason that the United States makes a stink about every home that Israel announces will be built in these areas is that it wants to show Abbas it does not distinguish them from Arab neighborhoods in areas of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan before the Six-Day War in 1967.

If the West were to ignore new housing in Gilo and Ramot, it would be putting a silent stamp of approval on the right of Israel to exercise its right of sovereignty over the Jewish neighborhoods on land that was legally annexed to Jerusalem in 1980.

EU Urging Boycott of Companies Threatening Two-State Solution

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

An EU report calls for member states to prevent support for the settlement enterprise.

An internal report issued by the EU recommends that member states completely prevent financial transactions that support settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. The report, entitled “Jerusalem 2012,” was compiled by the heads of European Union missions to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

According to the report, Israel’s construction in the southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem is the greatest threat to the two-state solution and defines it as “systematic, deliberate and provocative.”

The report notes three neighborhoods specifically: Har Homa, Gilo and Givat Hamatos, warning that if construction there continues at the present rate, it may create by the end of this year a buffer zone between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The report argues that such a buffer, when completed, would make it difficult to implement the two-state solution, and might mean its demise altogether.

Israel’s relations with the 27-member EU have been extremely tense in recent months, as the European organization has been voicing its discontent over a long list of Israeli construction programs involving construction of at least 5,000 new homes in and around East Jerusalem.

The EU is Israel’s largest import and export market, and should it implement punitive trade sanctions it would affect the already stumbling economy of the Jewish State.

According to the report, tenders were issued for 2,366 new units in 2012, which was “more than twice” the total number issued over the preceding three years—only 1,145, the report said.

Most of them were for construction in Har Homa, “significantly expanding the existing footprint of the settlement’s built-up area.”

Israel liberated East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, a move which is yet to be recognized by the international community. In fact, most Western countries, including most notably the U.S., don’t even fully recognize West Jerusalem, within the 1949 armistice “green line,” as Israel’s capital—preferring to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Israel officially considers all of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital and rejects the view that construction in the eastern sector as settlement building.

But since the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to become the capital of their state, they— along with many in the international community—consider settlement construction in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to be equally illegal.

This is born by an erroneous reading of the Geneva Convention Rule 130: “States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.” Technically speaking, the area formerly known as “West Bank” was never recognized widely as belonging to the state of Jordan, whose army occupied it in 1948. Since the area remained as a no man’s land until 1967, Israel’s taking of it did not constitute an occupation.

U.S. official policy refers to the area, as well as to Gaza, as “disputed territories.”

“If the implementation of the current Israeli policy regarding the city continues, particularly settlement activity, the prospect of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states — Israel and Palestine — becomes practically unworkable,” the EU report’s executive summary said. “This threatens to make the two-state solution impossible.”

Brand New Jerusalem Neighborhood to Be Approved – E-1 #2?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The first totally new Israeli-built neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem since Har Homa will soon be approved, introducing 2,610 Israeli homes to an area called Givat HaMatos.

The plan does not represent a widening out of existing Jewish neighborhoods, but rather creates something totally new.

The area is located between Beit Safafa and Talpiot.  Peace Now, which called the project a “mini-E1″,  decried the decision on its website: “The new neighborhood will complete the isolation between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, and will destroy any possibility of a territorial solution in Beit Safafa and Shurafat. The Geneva Initiative proposed border will not be possible without dismantling the new Israeli neighborhood.”

Once the plan is given final approval, construction of the homes will begin.

Peace Now noted that “it does appear that the Givat Hamatos plan may allow some expansion of the existing Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa on the lands that are privately owned by Palestinians.”

The New Settlements

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

           Predictably, the recent Israeli announcements about new construction in Har Homa in Jerusalem and the West Bank drew sharp criticism from the Palestinians and the Obama administration.

 

The common theme was that such actions were impediments to the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a settlement of their longstanding dispute.

 

From the Palestinians, who can be expected to try to milk every situation, this is not surprising. The fact that they are insisting – thanks to President Obama – on an announced complete construction freeze and Israeli acceptance of pre-1967 lines as preconditions for any resumption of talks was to be expected, if not welcomed.

 

But what of the Obama administration which is supposed to be an honest broker?

 

As we point out in our second editorial this week, the Palestinian Authority is underwriting, if not fostering, Palestinian terror against Jews. It has also plainly accepted as a given the continued viability of Hamas as an element in any agreement despite the requirement of the so-called road map that the PA must dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. And of course until President Obama mentioned his support for it, the Palestinians never insisted on a freeze as such a big deal. Moreover, the almost year-long construction freeze declared by Israel – which the PA had not even insisted on until Mr. Obama made it an issue – never drew a reciprocal gesture from the Palestinians.

 

To be sure, the U.S. reaction to the construction announcements was relatively muted. A comment by a State Department spokesman on the Ariel approvals was revealing: “These kinds of actions are counterproductive to the resumption of direct negotiations. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government. We will continue to make our position known.”

 

The State Department’s statement on the issuance of housing permits in East Jerusalem was similarly low key:

 

The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to housing construction in Jerusalem. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government and continue to make our position known. As we have said before, unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and contradict the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties, We believe that through good faith direct negotiations, the parties should agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its unique religious status for people around the world.

            No fire and brimstone, though we duly note the reference to a deal that “realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem.” What was needed was a clear statement from the U.S. that the Palestinians need to be more forthcoming and stop pursuing their unilateral September UN recognition ploy in place of substantive negotiations.

Jerusalem Flashpoint: Har Homa

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
            Yes, attention in and on Israel has been justifiably turned toward the Shomron town of Itamar, where two weeks ago ruthless Palestinian terrorists cruelly butchered most of the Fogel family preparing for sleep after an uplifting Sabbath meal.
But behind the scenes, and on more than one front, the battle for Jerusalem continues unyieldingly – a steely war of nerves with an Arab foe that will stop only when we defeat it.
The Arabs are aligned in full force to slice away, salami-style, Jewish sovereignty from our holy and eternal city. They have already succeeded, to some extent, in some neighborhoods, where soldiers prevent Jews from even entering. Our battle is not easy – and can certainly not be won without Jewish vigilance, knowledge and activism.
Very quietly, one of the main fronts in the battle is a little-known neighborhood on Jerusalem’s southern edge called Homat Shmuel – more popularly known as Har Homa. A news report last month about Har Homa attracted little attention. However, a careful reading thereof will give us pause to think about the strategic significance of this thriving Jewish locale. The essence was this:
“Documents detailing the Israel-PA talks and leaked by Al Jazeera show that the PLO negotiating team relinquished all Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem except for Har Homa “
All neighborhoods except for Har Homa? The PLO has given up on places such as Ramot Shlomo, which sparked a recent crisis between Israel and the U.S., and Sheikh Jarrah, where a handful of Jews have moved into Jewish-owned properties amidst thousands of Arabs and where international pro-Arab activists demonstrate almost every week – and yet it has not given up on Har Homa?!
Though Fatah denied the report and said it was leaked only to make Hamas look good at its expense – Fatah gunmen even attacked Al-Jazeera studios to make this point – there are other indications that our enemies regard Har Homa in a “special” light. After the Annapolis Conference in 2007, the PA loudly protested new construction in Har Homa – netting a strong condemnation from both then-U.S. Secretary of State Rice and UN Secretary-General Ban of the Jewish neighborhood.
   Why is the PA so extra-insistent on making sure Har Homa, of all Jerusalem neighborhoods, not remain Jewish?
   For one thing, it is likely that Har Homa elicits strong Arab opposition – even if not consciously – for its multiplicity of Torah institutions. The municipality has recently allocated lots for 19 (!) new synagogues to meet the large demand; two religious schools and several talmudei Torah fill the neighborhood with the sounds of Torah study; and two well-known yeshivot – Har HaMor and Mekor Chaim Yeshiva High School – are planning to move there as soon as their campuses are ready. At least half of its 30,000 residents are observant.
   Yet this is certainly not the only aspect of Har Homa the PA finds objectionable. The PLO’s disproportionate hostility to the locality stems directly from the PA’s plans to take over the entirety of eastern Jerusalem and form a state of its own!
   Simply put, Har Homa’s geographic location is a bone in the PA’s throat. With Bethlehem to the south – separated from Har Homa only by several hundred meters of forest area – and with the Arab-populated neighborhoods of Um Tuba and Sur Baher to the northeast and A-Sheikh Saad and Abu Dis further to the northeast, Har Homa is practically the only thing preventing a contiguous north-south Arab presence all along the eastern borders of Jerusalem and vicinity.
   True, East Talpiyot, north of Sur Baher, is also in the PA’s way – but Har Homa is newer and therefore more vulnerable. Take away Har Homa, Heaven forbid, and East Talpiyot becomes a lone enclave to the north, Gilo is isolated to the west, and all of southern and southeastern Jerusalem becomes nearly totally Arab – paving the way for Arab contiguity from Bethlehem and Beit Sahour to Abu Dis, Azariya, and Isawiya, past Mt. Scopus.
   Israel’s legal right to build Har Homa is well-grounded. As the Foreign Ministry explains, the Oslo Agreements specifically did not give the PA the authority to veto Jewish construction or other activity in Jerusalem. On the contrary, it was agreed that Jerusalem would be discussed only in the final-status talks – thus paving the way for normal life, such as city-approved construction, to proceed unhindered.
   Despite this, just last month new zoning plans for Har Homa – calling for 50 housing units, nine public buildings, and an access road – were shelved by the city’s zoning and planning board. Though some are optimistic that the plans will soon be resubmitted and approved, others feel that such expectations are baseless.
   In any event, as city councilman David Hadari told Arutz-7 at the time, “Even if the problem was just bureaucracy, such as a missing form or whatever, plans for these parts of Jerusalem should specifically not be taken off the agenda. These areas are very sensitive on a national scale, and no one must think we are caving in to any pressure regarding them.”
   Unfortunately, precisely this impression is being given: that Israel’s resolve regarding strategically crucial Har Homa is not strong.
   Jerusalem-lovers can inform the city council members of their concern regarding Har Homa and their desire to see the plans approved promptly. Hadari can be reached at hddavid@jerusalem.muni.il and Likud City Councilman Elisha Peleg can be reached at plelisha@jerusalem.muni.il.
Let it be stated clearly and unequivocally:
   Giving up or weakening any Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem is a critical threat to security, morale, and strategic integrity. Har Homa, East Talpiot, Pisgat Ze’ev and others are buffers that prevent an Arab territorial continuum from Ramallah to Bethlehem from suffocating Jewish Jerusalem.
For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalemorg or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org

 

   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 is the senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7 and an author.Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

   Their column appears every other week.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/jerusalem-flashpoint-har-homa/2011/03/30/

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