Establishment of a new neighborhood in Jerusalem, EU representative: “Obstacle to peace”

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The Jerusalem Municipality today (Wednesday) approved the construction of a new neighborhood in Atarot, which is planned in the area of ​​the abandoned Atarot Airport, on an area of ​​1,243 dunams. According to the plan, the new residential neighborhood will contain thousands of housing units, space for hotels, areas for public buildings, open public areas and employment and commercial areas.

The planned construction in Atarot in north Jerusalem is controversial, and it seems that a political agreement will be needed to continue the process of approving the proposed plan. The plan has not been promoted for a long time and its approval today could lead to opposition from the US administration.

In addition, the plan proposes the establishment of an area for employment and commerce near Road 45, and the preservation of the existing historic terminal building in the Atarot airport area, all as part of a significant urban planning, producing a walking urban skeleton, including a set of paths and open public areas between the neighborhoods.

Abandoned airport in Atarot // Photo: Oren Ben Hakon,

In the first part of the plan, about 3,800 housing units will be approved, and after environmental inspections, they will be expanded to about 10,000 housing units, which will be joined by commercial and employment areas, in the historic area of ​​Atarot Airport. The plan was approved today by the local planning and building committee ahead of its final approval by the district committee on Dec. 6.

Ofer Berkowitz, chairman of Awakening in Jerusalem, which has been promoting construction in Atarot for a long time, said: “This is a historic approval for construction in Jerusalem. There was tremendous pessimism at the beginning of the road, that we will not be able to bring about the establishment of the neighborhood, but here today it happened. We are very proud of this critical move for young people, for lowering housing prices, for keeping the lungs green. I will continue to work so that the district committee also approves the plan and does not succumb to outside dictates. “

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon // Photo: Gideon Markovich,

The Jerusalem Municipality stated: “The plan is a significant land reserve available in the city, which allows development not at the expense of open areas with high value. Promoting the program also provides a significant solution to the city’s housing needs. “

The mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, said: “I welcome the approval of the establishment of the new neighborhood. This is another program as part of a number of programs that I lead and promote to reduce gaps and create housing solutions for young people from all sectors. This is the right way to improve the quality of life of the residents. “

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EU representative: “Violation of international law”

Diplomats from European countries toured the Atarot compound and other sites in the Jerusalem area yesterday, and they protested against the Israeli plans. “The latest approvals of thousands of housing units for Israelis are aimed at detaching Palestinians from their city and changing the character of East Jerusalem. “Such actions not only violate Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, they also undermine the steps towards lasting peace between the parties and create tensions on the ground,” said EU Representative Sven Con von Burgsdorf.

The new neighborhood in Atarot is causing a stir // Photo: Architect Yuval Kadmon,

Chairman If You Will, Matan Peleg, and Chairman Lech Yerushalayim Maor Tzemach responded: “Mr. Burgsdorf and everyone who participated in the political subversion delegation must be deported back to their countries of origin. There is no one in the world who can challenge the eternity of Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people. “Anyone who uses the diplomatic passport to harm the Israeli capital has nothing to look for here. We call on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to wake up and understand that the EU representation among the Palestinians is a hostile representation, doing nothing in Israel other than fermenting the region and smelling the world.”

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