Akiva Eldar
March 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The Jerusalem municipality has frozen a plan for a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem that was initiated by the right-wing group Ateret Cohanim.

The city's legal adviser, Yosef Havilio, informed Meretz city councilman Pepe Alalo that he has frozen plans for the construction of 230 housing units in the area of Abu Dis, east of the Old City.

Havilio made the decision in response to a request by Alalo and attorney Danny Zeidman, who represents the nonprofit organization Ir Amim.

Havilio said at least one structure and an addition to another have already been built without permits in the neighborhood, known as Kedmat Tzion.

"It is not proper for the Jerusalem municipality to submit a plan intended to retroactively approve violations of building laws," he added.

A few weeks ago, the municipality submitted an objection to the Regional Planning and Construction Committee against a plan to retroactively approve illegal construction in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Havilio also told the last meeting of the municipal finance committee that he had ordered plans for Kedmat Tzion to be put on hold.

Kedmat Tzion's backers say that ultra-Orthodox Jews from the Mea She'arim neighborhood purchased the land in question at the beginning of the 20th century, over 100 years ago.


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