On November 23, Jerusalem building committee approved a plan for the construction of 500 units in Ramat Shlomo. The plan in question, Plan number 11094, pertains to construction outside the expropriation lines of Ramat Shlomo. A significant part of the plan is on private land, not Israeli-declared state land, which has complicated and prolonged the planning process. This plan is not new. It was promoted previously but postponed due to US pressure. As we reported back on November 3, 2014:
“Plan 11094, for the expansion of Ramat Shlomo. It would add an additional 660 units to the existing neighborhood (this is not the same as Plan 11085, for 1600 units, announced some years back during the visit to Jerusalem of Vice President Biden). Plan 11094 would extend Ramat Shlomo to the north and east of the existing built-up area of the settlement, virtually welding the settlement to the adjacent Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat. This is highly detrimental to the two-state solution because any future permanent status agreement will require a border between Ramat Shlomo and Shuafat; welding the former to the latter will turn them into ‘Siamese twins,’ between which the delineation of a border will be extremely difficult.”
This is the first plan approved following the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. It clearly indicates the readiness of the Jerusalem municipality to test the incoming administration’s policy towards expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem. In the meantime, both the Obama Administration and France have condemned the plan.
The Municipality’s role in the approval of this Town Planning Scheme is limited largely to an advisory capacity. The real authority required to approve the Plan is vested in the Regional Planning Committee, which operates within the framework of the Ministry of Interior. If that Committee treats the Plan on its merits, there will be a lengthy period in which amendments must be made so as to fulfill the technical prerequisites, after which the Plan will be deposited for public review. If there will be clear signals coming from the political echelons indicating that the scheme is viewed favorably, it is quite possible that it will be fast-tracked and the approval process considerably shortened.