Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and then-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the Knesset, February 16, 2022.

Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee on Monday debated two construction plans in eastern Jerusalem despite Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s order not to convene the committee, so as not to anger the visiting President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel. Lapid did not rescind his order, but seeing as the aging leader of the free world is no longer on hand to be angered, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked gave the go-ahead for the meeting, albeit after one week’s delay.

“I will not allow that only construction plans for Jews would be harmed on my watch, and that’s why I decided to postpone all the plans comprehensively for one week only,” Shaked said at the time.

The neighborhood of Givat HaMatos in Jerusalem, November 16, 2020. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The committee discussed two construction plans. One, in its initial stage of planning and construction, is called “The Lower Aqueduct” and includes about 1,500 new housing units. It includes construction in an area that’s half inside the green line and half beyond the green line. It’s a politically sensitive area that connects the Har Homa neighborhood to the Givat Hamatos neighborhood, and its construction will cut off Arab neighborhoods such as Beit Tzafafa from the rest of eastern Jerusalem.

The second plan is called “Givat HaShaked” and includes about 500 housing units near Beit Tzafafa and Shuafat neighborhoods.

And what would the prime minister do? Nothing. As an interim head of a caretaker government, he can’t fire any of his ministers.


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