Jerusalem’s planning committee has approved the construction of 243 new residential units in Ramot, a large neighborhood on the western side of city that international media have now officially termed a ”settlement.”
Most of Ramot is on public land that was occupied by Jordan from the end of the War for Independence until the Six-Day War in 1967. It was developed in the late 1970s and almost never has been lumped in with similar areas in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem.
The planning committee also approved another bureaucratic stage for building 270 homes in the same area.
Reuters reported, “Israel describes both settlements as Jerusalem “neighborhoods” and added that Palestinian Authority fears that the “Israeli enclaves will deny them contiguous territory” in a future state.
According to Reuters, Israel cites “biblical links” to justify the right to of Jew to anywhere in Jerusalem.
As much as the biblical links are true, as they are true for the entire existence of the State of Israel, Jerusalem built up Ramot because the city needed to expand and because a strong Jewish presence is Israel’s best security against more Arab wars.
Anticipating criticism from the United States, which backs the Arab world stand to shrink Israel back to the 1949 Armistice Lines, the Jerusalem committee stated:
There is no change in the policy of the municipality in recent years and we will continue to build in all neighborhoods of the city, for Jews and Arabs alike, according to the master plan. In the coming years, it is expected tens of thousands of housing units will be built in all sectors of the city.
New construction in Jerusalem is essential for the city’s development and for allowing young people and students to live here and buy an apartment.
Jerusalem city councilor Yosef Pepe Alalu, of the left-wing Meretz party, told AFP, “This kind of decision distances us from any chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.”
While Reuters reported that Israel ”captured” Judea and Samaria and what is now Greater Jerusalem, AFP went one step further from the truth and told readers it “seized” eastern Jerusalem.