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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor: I Killed Housing for Arabs as Punishment for Terror Attack

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who also chairs the City Planning Commission, on Monday morning told Jerusalem Radio that he plans to “punish” the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem for Sunday’s terror attack, and has already deleted from his committee agenda all the construction plans for the city’s Arab neighborhoods. “We’ve arrived at the moment of truth,” Turgeman said. “Let’s put our cards on the table — the people in eastern Jerusalem want to kill and annihilate us. Why should we give them new opportunities every day?”

“The whole time we’ve been living with the false hope that these people, if we give them and help them and support them, would change their bestial behavior,” Turgeman continued. “But it turns out that nothing helps. Why should people die in Jerusalem, where is it written, who said it? We need to accept responsibility around here. And I’m going to make an example. I removed from the agenda all the construction plans for eastern Jerusalem. I took down all the plans. They say we should use carrots and sticks, well we’re fresh out of carrots, only the sticks are left.”

“It’s over, I take the responsibility, and if you don’t like it, fire me,” Turgeman said.

As chairman of the city planning commission, Turgeman  actually has the authority to change his committee’s agenda and prevent plans from coming up for a debate. Naturally, what would ensue are countless lawsuits by contractors and land owners who would argue the delays are rooted in external motives. For now the planning commission is going to be on hiatus for the Jewish holidays, so the chairman will have a chance to gracefully walk back his angry statement.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s office has released a statement saying Turgeman’s plan had not been “coordinated with the mayor and does not reflect City policy. The way to prevent terrorism is by fighting in an uncompromising manner and with a strong hand against those who choose the path of terror, incitement and violence — and concurrently by bolstering the moderates and serving those residents who want to obey the law.”

David Israel

Ha’aretz on Warpath Against New Hebron Jewish Housing

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Ha’aretz writer Yotam Berger, who on Monday reported on the new housing construction project planned for Jewish Hebron, followed his story with a tweet addressed to @White-House, in which he noted (in Hebrew), “For your information, the State is planning new construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron.” Although it’s puzzling why Berger didn’t tweet in English, or ask someone at the paper’s English language website to help him translate, the panicky urgency of the tweet is unmistakable.

Yotam Berger Tweet

Monday’s report was followed Tuesday morning with a leading editorial titled, “Provocation in Hebron,” which warns that “Hebron is a permanent focal point for tension and confrontations between Jews and Palestinians. Any change in the urban structure and any additional Jewish presence in the city would only increase the potential for violence and the Palestinian protest. Those who complain day and night about Palestinian incitement cannot wash their hands of responsibility when they approve a construction project that is unmatched in its capacity to cause rage and hatred.”

The same editorial accuses Israel of “robbing lands” and Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying when he says he wants to negotiate peace because he is creating facts on the ground that would increase the demand for concessions on the PA.

The part about robbing lands is a purely pro-Arab perspective on the acquisition of the land for the new construction. The fact is that Ha’aretz’s own report on Monday cites Hebron spokesman Noam Arnon, who said the lands to be used have been owned by Jews since before 1948. “The area has always been known as belonging to the Jewish community, and if they return to living there I’m sure every justice-loving person would rejoice about it,” Arnon said.

What Ha’aretz and Peace Now, as well as the Arabs, are objecting to is the fact that in a situation where the slated area is comprised of Jewish owned lands and lands that were confiscated by the IDF back in 1983, the Jews will win out. The Jewish owned land will be turned into Jewish housing, while the confiscated land — where the city of Hebron used to maintain a central bus station that has been relocated in 1983 — that land remains confiscated.

So, according to Ha’aretz, the Jews who utilize their legally owned lands are robbers, because the IDF is holding on to lands that were confiscated from the Arab municipality.

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

The Israeli Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that land that was confiscated by the IDF for military purposes cannot be turned over for Jewish settlement. And so Ha’aretz, the anti-Israel NGOs and, supposedly, some Arabs, are implying that the Jews of Hebron have somehow violated the court ruling, which they never have done.

The decision to permit new housing construction in H2 (the Jewish sliver of Hebron) was made under the Moshe Ya’alon administration at the Defense Ministry, and it has now been confirmed by his successor, Avigdor Liberman. It isn’t clear how many housing units can be pushed into the area, which is about half an acre, including the military-confiscated parts which are verboten. Unless they build a high riser, the common land use for half an acre of suburban housing is between 15 and 25 units. If that many homes for Jews have the power to derail peace negotiations then maybe Israel should think the entire peace process on account of facing unimaginably rigid partners.

JNi.Media

Report: 180 Gush Katif Families Still without Permanent Housing

Monday, August 8th, 2016

The Israeli government was well-organized and brutally effective in expelling the 8,000 or so Jews of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip 11 years ago, but when it comes to keeping the promise of finding adequate, permanent housing for these refugees in their own land, perfection has not been the name of the game.

A report by Israel Radio on Monday revealed that as many as 180 expelled families, about 13% of the uprooted Jews of Gaza, are still living in temporary mobile homes. The man in charge of finding solutions to the problem happens to be Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi), who was among the few politicians who condemned the exiling of Jews from their homes by a Jewish government. But he, too, has been unable, despite the resources at his command, to find permanent housing for these families.

According to Hagit Yaron, director of the caravan community of the expelled Jews of Gush Katif, the government is yet to prepare lots for housing construction for these remnants of the 2005 crime.

David Israel

European Union Unhappy With Israel Over Gilo Housing Project

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

The European Union is, once again, unhappy with Israel about local municipal plans to move ahead with building new apartments in Jerusalem.

The city is proceeding with its routine to approve construction of some 770 housing units, barely a drop in the bucket for the average bustling municipality, let alone a growing metropolis.

Jerusalem is bursting at the seams and in desperate need of affordable housing.

The new project is to be built in the Gilo neighborhood, in the southern section of the city. However, this one little project has deeply upset the European Union, enough to issue a statement castigating Israel over the matter less than 24 hours after an elderly Catholic priest was murdered, his throat cut at the altar of his own church while serving Mass, by two Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists.

He was, in fact, ritually slaughtered on that altar before his flock, his blood flowing on to the steps while the radical Islamists yelled the traditional Islamic jihadist war cry “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great!) and other unknown phrases in Arabic.

ISIS has vowed repeatedly over the past year to take its battle to the “Crusaders” of Europe and the Middle East. On Tuesday they fulfilled that promise — and yet the European Union somehow still believes it more important to focus its energies on scolding Israel for providing affordable housing for its residents in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s recent decision to advance plans for some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, undermines the viability of a two-state solution,” said EU spokesperson David Kriss in a statement sent to media on Wednesday.

“It contributes to the establishment of a ring of Israeli settlements around the city, thus further cutting East Jerusalem off from the southern West Bank. “This announcement comes just weeks after the report of the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to abandon its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law.

“The decision raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state. The EU calls on Israel to reverse this decision and to cease its settlement activity,” Kriss said.

It’s amazing that after all this time, Europe is still unable to bring itself to make peace with the idea that Gilo, a neighborhood of some 40,000-plus that has existed well within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries for more than 35 years, is not going away.

Nor is it a “settlement” outside the city, which anyone can clearly see if they bothered to visit either in person or through a virtual swing through the neighborhood via the Google software.

As for the long-term intentions of the Jewish State, it might be far more constructive (excuse the pun) for the European Union to consider the long-term intentions of the Palestinian Authority rather than those of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization from which it was born has from the outset cherished the dream of conquering the Land of Israel from “the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”

Hana Levi Julian

Housing Ministry to Ease Requirements for Foreign Companies Building in Israel

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant has called on foreign construction companies to build in Israel new housing compounds of 1,000 units and more, in collaboration with local companies, and the Ministry of Housing will ease the requirements for the foreign builders’ integration in the Israeli market, Yediot Aharonot reported Monday. Some of the eased conditions are: the requirement for a company’s annual business cycle was lowered from $500 million to $300 million; the requirement to prove the minimum volume of construction will be spread over five rather than three years.; and building for housing only will be expanded to include proposals for office space construction.

The companies will be required to show that they’ve built at least one 25-story or two 15-story towers outside their own home country.

Dozens of foreign construction companies have already responded with interest to the call, including builders from China, Turkey, the US, Canada, and several European outfits. The Housing ministry plans to accept only two companies from the same country.

“One of the main areas of economic activity in the State of Israel is the construction industry, whose importance is reflected in its significant scope, investments and accumulated capital,” Minister Galant wrote in his ministry’s report, Israel Housing Market Emerging Opportunities, May 2016. “The industrialization and productivity levels in this area are relatively low compared to other sectors of the Israeli economy and worldwide. As a growing state, with one of the highest rates of population growth in the developed world, increasing housing construction capacity is of crucial importance, both as an answer to an immediate need for new homes as well as a contributing factor to the growth of the Israeli economy.”

“The key factor for resolving the housing crisis is a conceptual change in the planning process, the land development and the construction methods. A fundamental change is required, which, at the end of the process, will enable the entire population of the State of Israel to obtain appropriate housing solutions within a reasonable time and at reasonable prices,” Galant wrote.

But Roni Brick of the Israel Builders Association told Yediot that flooding the Israeli construction industry with foreign competition is not the right way to increase production, and that what the field needs desperately is an infusion of foreign labor, not foreign companies.

JNi.Media

New Legislation Would Free Up $1.5 Billion in Credit for Israeli Housing Starts

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Construction companies are no longer allowed to charge their customers fees for their own legal services, according to a key item in a new amendment to the Sales Law being promoted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Calcalist reported Thursday. Another significant change in the law would remove the requirement that contractors post a bank guarantee for the VAT portion of the cost of the apartment, and instead the state would set up a special fund to cover the buyers’ outlay. This would save contractors millions of dollars, releasing more than $1.5 billion in bank credit to the real estate market. The construction firm would still have to insure the rest of the buyer’s investment, in case said firm goes out of business.

The Housing Ministry, which began the move to amend the law nine months ago, is hoping the changes would pass by the end of the Knesset summer session in August. The move was spurred by the common understanding that the construction section of the current Sales Law is outdated, and has led real estate companies to develop their own ways of bypassing it, at the expense of their customers. The amendments were forged by an inter-office team that included Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenetz, the Consumer Protection Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the Tax Authority.

“It is our responsibility to help the Israeli public get accessible housing, while legally protecting the buyers and maintaining fairness in all processes,” Minister of Housing Yoav Galant told Calcalist. One of the problems in the way housing business is done in Israel has to do with the buyer paying the contractor’s attorney for processing the new apartment at the Land Registry Office (the local word for the office is Tabu — no relation to taboos, the word is simply the Arabic mispronunciation of the Turkish word Tapu, or title-deed). A recent legislation limited the fees paid to said attorney to about $1,300, but even so, the clients may believe that by paying his fees the attorney is now working for them, which he certainly isn’t — he remains in the service of the contractor.

The Housing Ministry believes that registering the apartment and providing a legal deed is part of the overall product the contractor is expected to provide, and so they now want to go one step further and eliminate altogether the requirement for buyers to pay for this service.

There are other amendments which are not as crucial economically, but certainly add transparency to the process of buying an apartment in Israel. Companies would have to inform buyers of every change they intend to make in the original construction plan, for instance, if they want to add apartments. They also must inform buyers of changes in nearby lots, so that, if, for instance, their magical view of the Mediterranean would now be blocked by a 48-story tower, buyers would have the opportunity to get out of the deal and look elsewhere.

Contractors may no longer be permitted to sell apartments on land that is yet to be re-zoned for construction. If a plan for a new housing construction exists but the permit for building has yet to be issued, firms may sell units to buyers, but only with the proviso that the project is not yet legally authorized, providing the date for the expected authorization, and that buyers can get their money back in its entirety should the permit not be issued.

Also, any significant change in a purchased apartment’s layout, including in common areas such as storage spaces and lobbies, would be considered legally as failure to fulfill the contractor’s commitment and buyers may recoup their investment.

JNi.Media

Kulanu’s Leftwing Trend Continues: Housing Minister Supports Settlements Freeze

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

After the resignation of Kulanu Environment Minister Avi Gabbay on Friday, because he objected to the prime minister’s replacing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon with Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman; and after Kulanu chairman and Finance Minster Moshe Kahlon’s tweet that he would veto any attempt to curb the legislative ambitions of the Israeli Supreme Court; now Kulanu’s Housing Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Wannabe Yoav Galant, who was forced to resign from the Army under the cloud of a scandal, has also moved to pull his fledgling party to the left. According to a Jewish Insider report, Gallant spoke to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York last week and told them his government’s policy was to freeze construction in the Judea and Samaria Jewish settlements. Galant also warned against the emergence of a two-nation state if the 2-state solution is not implemented, and advocated moving in that direction even without cooperation from the PA Arabs.

In other words, at this point there is no daylight between the views of Meretz and at least one Netanyahu government minister on the fate of the Jewish communities on the “wrong” side of the green line: they must come down and every penny Israel invests in adding to them is a penny wasted.

According to the report, Galant was asked several times regarding settlement construction, and his response each time should constitute a challenge to all of Kulanu’s partners in Netanyahu’s government. Galant spelled out that “fundamentally, I’m carrying out the government’s policy that we do not build in Judea and Samaria.” He added, apologetically: “But I’m not the only one who holds the capacity to build. There are private people who build, and other parts of the government which are acting according to the instructions of other ministers.” Make that the Habayit Hayehudi ministers, specifically Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel who is in charge of the Settlement Division.

Galant was concerned about the stalled negotiations with the PA. “In ten years there will be 7 million Palestinians and 7 million Jews west of the Jordan River,” he said, obviously accepting the Arab census information on blind faith. The real figures are less alarming, and the figures of Israel’s birthrate are more encouraging than ever. It turns out young Israeli couples, especially the religious ones, are not watching TV or surfing the Internet at night.

Galant also suggested that even though Israel does not have a partner for peace on the Arab side, this should not hinder its progress towards the 2-state target. “The question rises, what would happen should we take our hands of this plane’s rudders and just let it continue to glide,” Galant asked. “What will happen in one generation?” He, apparently knows what is bound to happen: “We’ve seen what happened in the Balkans,” he said, concluding that “thinking about the future obligates us as a government to bring about a solution even if the other side does not want it.”

Naturally, with the successful record of a unilateral pullout from Gaza to support it, who can refute Galant’s argument. Even the idea of the IDF staying out of the PA areas is terrifying to most Israelis, who recall what the PLO terror network was able to accomplish without Israeli tight supervision. The notion of evacuating the Jews of Area C is both criminally absurd and contrary to the wishes of the majority of Israeli voters.

As polls have shown, the Kulanu party is destined to leave the Israeli political map as quickly as it has appeared, shrinking from its current ten MKs to 6, and making room at the unaffiliated center for the Yair Lapid Yesh Atid party which may end up as the second largest party in the Knesset next time, with a projected 19 to 21 seats. All of Kulanu’s vagaries in the coming weeks should be viewed in that context: a party on its way to extinction attempting to soar once more by flapping its arms with great vigor. It’s not a very attractive image, and in this case it is also likely to inflict some damage on Jews.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kulanus-leftwing-trend-continues-housing-minister-supports-settlements-freeze/2016/05/29/

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