Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Nir Barkat on Jerusalem Building
Jerusalem Mayor: "I Don't Know of Any City in the World Whose Regulator Is the U.S. President"
-Yori Yalon & Hezi Sternlicht
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat [pictured] expressed support for the government's plan to build 3,000 additional housing units in the E1 section between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim. "We need to connect the E1 area to Jerusalem without any reservations at all, even with the world pressuring us not to do so....I don't know of any city in the world whose regulator is the U.S. president."
"When the world talks about a freeze in Jerusalem, I ask, a freeze on what? On the billions we invest in east Jerusalem? Should we stop construction for Arabs, Christians or Jews? Or does someone mean that when an entrepreneur approaches me, I should, heaven forbid, ask him what religion he subscribes to so he can receive a permit to build in Jerusalem? That would be horrendous and it negates even U.S. law."
Much Ado about Little: The E-1 Controversy -Elliott Abrams
The Netanyahu government has been criticized for planning to build housing in the area known as E-1 - the space between Jerusalem and the city of Ma'ale Adumim (pop. 40,000).
The Israeli security argument is simple: it is impossible to have Ma'ale Adumim connected to Jerusalem only by one road because that road can all too easily be blocked and communication between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim (and beyond to the Jordan Valley and border) cut off. This argument has persuaded all Israeli prime ministers who have faced the question, starting with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
Construction in the major blocs and in Jerusalem is hardly a surprise, and does not differ from the policy of Israel's previous government under Prime Minister Olmert. The deal reached between the Bush Administration and the government of Prime Minister Sharon in 2004 was to permit construction of additional housing units inside the major blocs. The current decision fits easily within those terms.
(Council on Foreign Relations)