Posted on 6th August 2012, by & filed under Advocacy, ICAHD Staff, Jerusalem, Old City, Petition, Settlements.


ICAHD and other Israeli Peace Groups call for the cancellation of a planned Muslim Quarter new settlement


Another illegal act in East Jerusalem undertaken by the Israeli Government and the Municipality of Jerusalem has recently been uncovered: a plan to build a new Jewish settlement in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City near Herod’s Gate 


Recently the Sub-committee of the Local Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem has confirmed a plan to erect a Jewish neighbourhood in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the plan, 30 housing units and a synagogue will be built to accommodate some 150 people. Professionals (BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights) warn of the implications of this plan: 


The proposed plan violates the basic planning principles of all construction in the Old City: 

 

  1. Principles of preservation: in order to preserve the history and heritage of the Old City, any construction is limited by height and proximity to the walls of the city. The proposed plan violates these two principles.
  2. The Old City is the most densely inhabited place not only in Jerusalem but also in Israel; this density in the Muslim Quarter is 182.7 capita per dunam (5-20 capita in other neighbourhoods in Jerusalem). In recent years planners have been working to find ways to decrease or dilute that density. Any new project aiming to house external communities will badly harm the planners’ work.
  3. In addition to the density, changing the open space, which is among the extremely few open spaces in the Old City, into a housing area will seriously harm the welfare of the people living there.

 

Besides the above planning drawbacks and the environmental implications, we recognize the political danger inherent in the plan. Building housing units for Jews in the Muslim Quarter has far-reaching implications over the delicate social fabric of the city. The Palestinians in East Jerusalem live in socio-economic distress, therefore a permanent presence of Jews in such a vicinity, in improved living conditions, would lead to provocation and a serious political and social crisis. Moreover, the proposed plan is also a continuation of a consistent Israeli policy whose purpose is a violation of the balance between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem, creating by this policy a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. 

 

Increasing Israeli control over Palestinian land in East Jerusalem is intended unilaterally to create facts on the ground. With such policy Israel is violating international law, which does not recognize Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, occupied in June 1967. Resolution 478 of the UN Security Council declares the annexation of East Jerusalem to be illegal under international law, and according to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention it is illegal for an Occupying Power to deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. 

 

This is basically a political plan that gives new meaning to the term “United Jerusalem,” preventing any possibility for political negotiation for a just solution in Jerusalem. 

 

Please find maps and aerial photos at the following website:http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=645 

 

Signatories: 
AIC: Alternative Information Centre; 
Bat Shalom;&nbs
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Gush Shalom; 
ICAHD: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; 
MachsomWatch; 
Peace Now; 
Ta’ayush 

 

ACTION: WHAT YOU CAN DO:

 

One way to help change policy is to contact government representatives. Many of them do not seem to be overly concerned about, or perhaps they’re just ignorant of, Israeli crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It’s possible though, that enough pressure can be applied from below to make them feel less elect-able if they don’t modify their positions. The draft letter offered below is simply a template to be used or modified as you see fit. 

 

  • Phone, fax, or email your representatives directly. If you are a U.S. resident or citizen, find your representative’s contact information at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov . If you have the ability, one fax is generally worth about ten emails.
  • If you live in Britain, you will need to contact your constituency Member of Parliament (MP). You can also book an appointment to see your MP in person at his/her surgery. If you are unsure who your MP is, you can find out by phoning your local library or by visiting the following website: http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alcm.cfm
  • To help us gauge the response, please send a cc of your messages to lucia@icahd.org.
  • Please also contact Israeli policy makers: 

    Min. Interior Ophir Pines, fax: 03-763 2638/ 02-566-6376 or email pinespaz@knesset.gov.il 
    Minister for Building & Infrastructure, Isaac Herzog, fax: 02-584-7033 and 02-582-4111
    Director of Jerusalem District Planning, Ruth Yosef: fax: 02-624-1986 or phone: 02-629-0216 
    Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupoliansky, Fax: 02-629-6014 
    Rabbi Yehoshua Pollak, Chairman, Municipal Local Committee of Building & Planning: fax: 02-629-6178 
    Emails to Meir Margalit at meir@icahd.org will be hand delivered to the Municipality

 

SAMPLE LETTER: 

 

Dear______________, 

 

I was shocked to hear that the Sub-committee of the Local Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem has confirmed a plan to erect a Jewish neighbourhood in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the plan, 30 housing units and a synagogue will be built to accommodate some 150 people. 

 

Besides the fact that building this settlement is illegal under international law, professionals (BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights) warn of the negative impact of the plan on the Old City. 

 

The building of this settlement in the Muslim Quarter also has negative political implications for the delicate social fabric of the city between Palestinians and Jews. 

 

I urge you to do everything in your ability to stop the building of this settlement. 

 

Regards, 

 

[Sign] 

 

*** Every two weeks, ICAHD is sending out an appeal to internationals to write to their representatives about an urgent issue, via a special mailing list. This campaign is meant to complement the grassroots solidarity, information, and media campaigns already under way that change the way people see the conflict around the world and in turn change the reality here on the ground .If you want to learn more about this initiative, or want to subscribe to this list, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/icahdaction/ **