DANIEL K. EISENBUD, JPOST
Municipality says proposal would allow construction of 50,000 housing units in all parts of capital city, two-thirds in Jewish sector.
In a petition submitted Sunday to the Jerusalem Administrative Court, two human rights organizations requested the District Committee for Planning and Building cease treating the unauthorized “Jerusalem 2000 Outline Plan” as a ratified legal document.
In the petition, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Bimkom (Planners for Planning Rights) argue that the controversial outline plan – which was never passed into law, and severely restricts construction by Palestinians in east Jerusalem – is illegally being enforced.
“The already limited opportunities faced by east Jerusalem residents in developing their neighborhoods and receiving building permits are being further restricted by the decision to consider the unapproved outline plan as a ‘policy document,’” she continued.
However, the Jerusalem Municipality issued a statement flatly denying the petition’s assertions.
“The Jerusalem Municipality rejects the allegations as incorrect and inaccurate,” the statement read. “This is a program that has been planned for over 10 years and aims to guide and outline the development of the city in the coming decades.”
The municipality claimed the program will create the construction of 50,000 housing units in all parts of Jerusalem – two-thirds for the Jewish sector and onethird for the Arab sector, in relation to their respective populations.
Still, Palestinians constitute 39 percent of Jerusalem’s residents, yet the total area designated for building in their neighborhoods covers only 14% of east Jerusalem, or just 7.8% of the entire city, said ACRI.
The municipality countered that the outline plan reflects the “vision of the municipality to stop the emigration from the city and accelerate economic development in the coming years,” noting that it will provide affordable housing for young people, the development of east Jerusalem and the development of tourism and employment areas.
According to the petition, in 2007 the Local Planning Committee of Jerusalem recommended that the District Committee for Planning and Building approve the plan, which would subsequently be presented for public review before being passed into law.
However, following extensive political and public opposition, the plan was never submitted to the public for oversight, preventing it from becoming ratified.
“In contravention of legal procedure, planning authorities have been using the plan as a ‘policy document’ with which new building and development plans must comply,” said Tzafrir. “This de facto change bypasses the statutory procedures enacted to ensure transparency and public review.”
The petition states that by bypassing the stage of submitting the plan for public dissemination, the District Committee negated its legal obligation of due diligence by preventing the public from presenting objections and seeking compensation for damages caused by the proposal.