On June 19, the Israeli Ministry of Interior announced the "approval" of plans that will allow for the construction of extensions in thousands of residential units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem. Here are the details.
There are currently ten town plans - Plans No. 14000A- 14000I - before the Regional Planning Committee, each dealing with another section of Ramat Shlomo. For a map of the site, click here
. Cumulatively, these plans will allow each of the approximately 2200 existing units to add a room. The pressure on this comes from Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, who wants to show his constituency that he is allowing them to expand their homes. Some of the construction will be on existing roofs, some in basements, some by means of extensions. There are no new units. A good deal of the new construction potential won't have any practical implications beyond legalizing the rampant illegal extensions that have already been built.
The first of these plans was discussed on April 10, and the remaining nine were deliberated on at the June 19 meeting of the Regional
Planning Committee's Sub-committee for Limited Plans. The sub-committee decided, subject to certain conditions, to deposit the plans for public review. So the approval was not final, and the review process will proceed once the plans are published.
This all would have gone unnoticed had in not been for a MOI press release touting this semi-non-event. Eli Yishai is motivated by
appealing to his base, by Netanyahu showing he is addressing the housing shortage, and both who apparently can't resist the opportunity to demonstrate to the international community that this government is determined to proceed with East Jerusalem construction, especially in Ramat Shlomo.