Building Of New Jewish Settlement In East Jeruslaem Prevents The Palestinians From Making East Jerusalem Their Capital, Dov Henin Says

I … The Shepherd Hotel is being demolished to construct a new Jewish settlement in Nahalat Shimon, that is the Sheikh Jarrah, neighborhood of East Jerusalem just north of Jerusalem’s Old City, according to Orthodox Jew Car of Israel Matzav who writes

MK Dov Henin of the Hadash party also harshly criticized the demolition of the hotel, saying the move “exterminates the chance of a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem existing side-by-side with an Israeli capital in the west.”

Henin said that the building of the new Jewish neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah was a calculated political move meant to prevent the Palestinians from making their capital in the eastern part of the city.

“Without two capitals in Jerusalem, there can be no two-state solution and we will be sentenced to eternal war,” Henin added.”

II … EU Foreign Minister Baroness Ashton has “strongly condemned” Israel ’s building of “illegal new settlements” in East Jerusalem.
European Jewish Press reports EU  foreign policy chief and European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton condemned Sunday’s demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in east Jerusalem. In  a statement she said: “I strongly condemn this morning’s demolition of the Shepherd Hotel and the planned construction of a new illegal settlement. I reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law, undermine trust between the parties and constitute an obstacle to peace.” … “Furthermore, we recall that East Jerusalem is part of occupied Palestinian territory. The EU does not recognise the annexation by Israel,” the statement added.

III … Historical Reports

A … On March 24, 2010, Barak avid and Nir Wasson of Haaretz reported that approval of the controversial East Jerusalem project came hours before meeting between a meeting of Netanyahu and Obama in the US in article Jerusalem Planning Authority Okays Shepherd Hotel Plan.

Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama took place close to midnight Israel time, and was described as private, involving only the two leaders.

The Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah was purchased by American Jewish tycoon Irving Moskowitz in 1985 for $1 million. Moskowitz is an influential supporter of the Ateret Cohanim association and Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem.

An existing structure in the area will be razed to make room for the new housing, while the historic Shepherd Hotel will remain intact. A three-story parking structure and an access road will also be constructed.

The local planning council initially approved the plan in July, a move that angered Britain and the United States and prompted them to call on Israel to cancel the plans. The council issued its final approval for the project last Thursday, which permits the settlers to begin construction at once.

Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week was aimed at defusing the crisis that began when the report broke of plans to build 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem two weeks ago during the visit here of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

While Netanyahu distanced himself from the Interior Ministry decision, he had reiterated prior to and during his trip that Israel reserves the right to build in East Jerusalem.

The prime minister, who had hoped to rebuild lost trust in his relations with the president, said that “relations between Israel and the U.S. should not be risked over divisions on the matter of Jerusalem.”

Despite efforts by both Israel and America to end the crisis, there is still lingering tension and a lack of trust toward the prime minister.

An Israeli source who had discussed the matter with senior administration officials said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the president are dissatisfied with Netanyahu’s letter detailing the steps he is willing to take to restore the administration’s confidence in him.

The prime minister and his aides said Monday’s meeting with Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, which served as a preamble to the meeting with Obama last night, was conducted in excellent spirits.

However, the Israeli source noted that both Biden and Clinton used strong language and made it clear to Netanyahu what he needs to tell the president if trust is to be restored.

The same source said that for the Americans, Netanyahu’s answers were insufficient. An American source close to the administration said that Obama and Clinton will “test” Netanyahu to see whether he will carry out his promised goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians.

B … On July 30, 2009, Gershom Gorenberg reports in The American Prospect article Jerusalem’s Hotel Affair: “In Jerusalem, where all planning is strategic and all local issues are international, the development of one property can serve as a political move intended to determine the city’s future status.”

The hotel building itself was once the headquarters of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, mufti of Jerusalem and Arab nationalist leader during British rule of Palestine.

the Netanyahu government promised the U.S. that there would be “no surprises” at the site, according to a source immersed in Jerusalem diplomatic issues.

Then, on July 2, the Jerusalem municipality – now headed by right-wing Mayor Nir Barkat – quietly issued permits for the first 20 apartments at the Shepherd Hotel lot. Given the consequences, such a move is unthinkable without the approval – or encouragement – of the national government. At the beginning of last week, a sudden flurry of reports appeared in the Israeli media: At a meeting at the State Department, U.S. officials told Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren that the administration wanted the project stopped. That, in turn, gave Netanyahu the opportunity to publicly announce that in “united Jerusalem,” there would be no limits on Jewish construction.

The affair, of course, comes in the midst of a larger dispute. The Obama administration wants Israel to freeze settlement activity in the West Bank and evacuate small settlement outposts built since 2001; Netanyahu rejects a freeze and has yet to take serious action on the outposts. The American position – hardly new with this administration – is construction for Israelis in East Jerusalem constitutes settlement.”

in Jerusalem, where all planning is strategic and all local issues are international, both the sale of the property and the approval of construction are political moves intended to determine the city’s future status.

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem.

III … Current Reports

Photos of Caterpillar and Volvo bulldozers demolishing The Shepherd Hotel  by Alex Kane

Israel is trying to erase any Palestinian identity from the city of Jerusalem reports Death by Cucumber News

Israeli bulldozers demolished a hotel in a predominately Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem to make way for new Jewish homes.  The Shepherd Hotel, which was purchased by a Jewish-American billionaire in 1985, will be replaced by 20 luxury apartments for Israelis, reports European Jewish Post

The new settlement will separate two Arab neighborhoods, Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi al Joz reports Al Jazerra in article by swilliamsjd


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