Plans for New IDF War College on the Mt. of Olives Approved for Public Review

On July 2, the Regional Planning Committee took up Town Plan 51870, the plan to build the IDF college on the Mount of Olives. At the end of its consideration the Committee adopted a decision to deposit the plan for public review.   Once it is published the 60-day review period will commence.  The pace of approval of this plan has been quite rapid, and it is clear that it is being fast-tracked. Today’s decision to deposit the plan for public review will likely receive some attention since the Ministry of the Interior has already issued a press release (and coverage has already started – see hereand here).

As we noted in previous reports, the site is located opposite the Mormon University Campus and adjacent to the Lutheran World Federation/Augusta Victoria Campus, beyond the Green Line and on lands expropriated by Israel in 1968. The plan was initiated by the governmental Jerusalem Development Authority, in conjunction with the IDF and the Israel Land Authority. The plans call for an 8 story structure, 5 stories of which will be built into the ridge, with 41,480 square meters of built up space. A map can showing the location of the tendered units can be viewed/downloaded here.

As a reminder: Once a plan is referred to the Regional Planning Committee by the Jerusalem Municipal Planning Committee (this plan was referred in April), the Regional Planning Committee has the option of rejecting the plan, demanding amendments, or approving it for public review. The Regional Planning Committee operates under the framework of the Interior Ministry and is composed largely of representatives of various government ministries, meaning that the Government of Israel’s position nearly always prevails within the committee. That is, this plan could not have moved forward unless the Netanyahu government wanted it to.

The Regional Planning Committee’s decision will now appear in newspapers and the details of the plan will be available for the public to review, and file objections to, during the 60-day review period. Once that period has elapsed, there will be a new hearing (if necessary) to consider objections (assuming there are any), and then the Committee will either approve the plan or demand amendments – a process that is generally completed within 30 days of the original 60-day review period, but can take longer in cases that are complicated or politically delicate (like the Mughrabi Gate case). The bottom line being, this plan is now in the far-advanced stages, but should the Netanyahu government come to its senses, it still has the ability to slow it or stop it.

Further reporting on this from Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran can be read here