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Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city

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Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the cityThe Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property.

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property.

The committee's proposal would codify the municipality's planning policy for the entire city. In essence, Jerusalem would uniformly apply its zoning and construction procedures to both halves of the city.

Before giving the go-ahead, the committee will give objectors to the plan 60 days to submit their reservations. This is the decisive stage in the planning process, because only rarely are plans altered. Once the 60-day period expires, the plan's approval is a fait accompli. Such a development would probably invite a hail of criticism from the Palestinians, Arab countries and the international community.

The United States has recently communicated its expectation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will prevent any change in the city's status quo pending the conclusion of final-status talks with the Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington early next month.

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