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Construction Plans Approved for Disputed Area in Jerusalem

After years of dispute, plans for construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem’s southern limits have been given the go ahead.

The Jerusalem municipality’s planning committee this week approved the building of some 6,500 housing units in Har Homa, on lands annexed by Israeli after the 1967 war. Public protest from both Jews and Arabs about land ownership had held up development of the area for years. The site of the new neighborhood is near neighborhood is near an Arab one, Tsur Bahur.

Jerusalem council members from the left-wing Meretz party protested the plans, saying it could threaten the peace process.

But Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir said he did not mind facing that threat. “Meretz is always looking for how to solve the Arabs’ problems. We’re looking to solved the Jews’ problems,” he told Army Radio.

The development plan had been approved by both Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Housing Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

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