Jerusalem Court Instructs Municipality To Halt Construction

Residents of Wadi Hilwa-Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem filed a petition against the massive construction and development work carried out in their neighborhood.

On March 25, the District Court of Jerusalem heard a petition filed by the residents of the Wadi Hilwa-Silwan neighborhood against the massive construction and development carried out by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Transportation through the Company for the Development of East Jerusalem. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Noam Solberg ordered a halt to the construction taking place on the main roads of the neighborhood.

During the hearing, Judge Solberg criticized the actions of the Municipality and the Company, which did not provide the Court with all the information needed to adjudicate the legality of the Municipality’s actions. Judge Solberg instructed the Municipality and the Company to disclose the construction plans, and the relevant authorities to submit their position, within thirty days. As has been noted, despite the Municipality’s claims that the infrastructure is being developed for the welfare of the residents, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has information indicating that the real purpose is to develop tourism in the City of David quarter at the expense of open spaces, green zones, and parking space in other parts of the neighborhood, which would greatly disrupt the lives of the residents.

Approval of the plan would mean that the neighborhood will not have its real development needs met in the coming years for schools, preschool programs, public parks, and other public facilities.

During the proceedings, Attorney Tali Nir of ACRI, representing the residents, argued that the infrastructure plan for the neighborhood, at a total cost of thirty million shekel, contravenes the law and flouts proper governance: “The situation is particularly troubling because the offender is the Jerusalem Municipality, which enforces the planning and construction laws in order to demolish homes in East Jerusalem…It is unacceptable that when the Municipality wants to build, it is not bound by these same laws.”

Attorney Nisreen Alyan of ACRI noted the extensive damage that the plan is liable to inflict on the residents: “Hundreds of parking spaces in the neighborhood will be eliminated without creating alternative parking…and the few parking lots to be built will be very distant from the homes of the residents. The new traffic arrangements will cause severe congestion throughout the neighborhood.”

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Impact of Settlements, Planning and Building Rights, Police and Security Guards, The Occupied Territories

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