The Jerusalem municipality’s planning and construction committee last week approved a new master plan for the Arab-dominated neighborhoods of Ras al-Amud and Silwan (Kfar HaShiloach), with an unprecedented scope of 4,700 housing units intended for Arabs, Makor Rishon reported Friday. The approved plan is based on Local Outline Plan Jerusalem 2000, which was in the works since the time Ehud Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem.
In Ras al-Amud, on the slopes of Mount Olives, the plan was approved for an area of 420 acres’ including Wadi Qadum, the southern part of At-Tur, and Ein a-Luza in Silwan. The planned compound already has 5,000 approved housing units, which means that the new plan will double the Arab population there.
The compound includes 11 tourism sites, 42 elementary school classes, 108 high school classes, a brand-new elementary school with 12 classes, and community administration. In Ein a-Luza, which is spread over some 80 acres, an area of 23 acres will be set aside for public open space.
Councilman Elad Malka, from the Hitorerut (awakening) party, the largest faction in city hall, headed by former deputy mayor Ofer Berkovitch and dedicated to a leftwing agenda that includes advocating open businesses on Shabbat, told Makor Rishon that “the master plan will make it possible to create construction plans, enforce the law against illegal construction, deepen the education, leisure, and transportation infrastructure, and realize our responsibility for east Jerusalem to the benefit of all the residents of Jerusalem.”
Malka pointed out that about half of the population of Ras al-Amud is under 15, so that offering future housing solutions there is a vital concern.
The Local Outline Plan Jerusalem 2000 was created at a time when peace with the Arabs and the two-state solution were still considered a valid direction, and reflects the left’s willingness to allow Jerusalem to eventually be shared between Israel and a Palestinian state.
The outline plan envisions increasing residential construction capacity in general, and Arab capacity in eastern Jerusalem in particular by both crowding existing neighborhoods and by enlarging them. The plan raises the possibility of improving the standard of living in the eastern parts of the city by rehabilitating the Shuafat refugee camp, possibly by combining Israeli resources with donations from the international community. At the same time, the plan is adamant on the implementation of the city’s infrastructure development projects using the state budget, according to government decisions dating back to the Rabin administration