JERUSALEM (Dec. 16)
Mayor Teddy Kollek today sharply criticized plans by the Israel Lands Authority to build a new residential settlement on the West Bank near the Arab village of Nobi Somwil, just beyond the northern outskirts of Jerusalem. He said the money required to develop the 125 -acre site for private homes and condominiums would be better spent improving existing Jewish neighborhoods inside Jerusalem.
The Mayor also warned that “whoever invests money in the purchase of land in Nabi Samwil will not see the color of his money.” He expressed concern that while the new settlement would be outside of Jerusalem’s boundaries, it would still depend on municipal services from the city which can hardly cope with existing demands. Kollek also told reporters that the new settlement would add more Arabs to Jerusalem’s population, meaning those who live between the city and proposed Jewish residential settlement.
According to Kollek, the land around the Nabi Somwil site should be left empty for the time being “as a green land reserve.” The Israel Lands Authority, which announced its plans last Sunday, said the settlement’s purpose was to “thicken” the Jewish presence around Jerusalem. Kollek believes that Jewish Jerusalem must first be “strengthened at the core.”