Amid signs that the city could be divided, a plan to improve neglected Arab areas in east Jerusalem was announced.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski on Wednesday presented the plan at a City Hall news conference in what appears to be an attempt to keep the city united. It comes less than a week before the Annapolis peace conference, where ceding parts of the Israeli capital to the Palestinians could be on the table.
“Today, unfortunately, people are busy talking about Jerusalem,” Lupolianski said. “Through our actions, we will unify and strengthen Jerusalem.”
Lupolianski called the $50.9 million program a “Marshall Plan for east Jerusalem” to fix years of neglect.
The plan has been in the works for about a year, the mayor said. The work will include developing the commercial center, creating new parks, and building more hotels, homes and businesses.
Palestinians want east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, as the capital of their future state. About one-third of the 750,000 residents of east Jerusalem are Israeli Arabs.