Kidmat Tzion – Municipal Approval Anticipated Soon
According to very reliable sources, Town Plan 7659, for approximately 220 units in the new settlement of Kidmat Tzion, will be brought to the Jerusalem Municipal Planning in the run-up to “Jerusalem Day” which falls on May 20 (the likely date for the Municipal Planning Committee hearings is May 17, but no final determination has been made). A map showing the location of the planned construction can be viewed/downloaded here. As reported previously, this is a plan for a brand new settlement of more than 1000 residents to be located on the boundary between East Jerusalem and Abu Dis, in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood. Implementation of this plan would have significant deleterious implications for the two-state solution, both in terms of political impact and impact on the ground. Given the nature of the land involved (which falls under the authority of the Custodian General, who is part of the Ministry of Justice), ultimate responsibility for the Kidmat Tzion project lies with the government of Israel project, not the Municipality. This means that if this project moves forward, it will disclose a decision of the Netanyahu government to establish a new settlement in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Also as we reported previously, Jerusalem Mayor Barkat reportedly plans to inaugurate the scheme around “Jerusalem Day” events (on May 20), and has reportedly informed the Prime Minister of his intentions. Approval of Town Plan 7659 in the Municipal Planning Committee will likely be linked to approval of – or efforts to approve – minor planning for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, allowing the mayor and planning committee to divert attention from the approval of a new settlement in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood by focusing attention on the exceedingly rare approval of construction for Palestinians. Note: Kidmat Zion plan has been reported in the media as another Irving Moskowitz project. This appears to be inaccurate. Moskowitz own less than 4% of the site, and is not, according to our sources, behind the revival of the plan. The site is controlled overwhelmingly by the Custodian General of abandoned properties, indicating that the energy behind this project comes from the Government of Israel, not private developers.