E. Jerusalem tourist center approved amid criticism

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Jerusalem committee approved a tourist center in eastern Jerusalem amid criticism from residents and left-wing groups.

The Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee on Monday approved a visitors’ center and tourism compound at the City of David National Park in Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian town with a population of 31,000.

Silwan residents and left-wing organizations called approval of the plan another step in the "Judaization" of Silwan, according to Haaretz. Some 400 Jews live there.

The public has 60 days to lodge complaints against the compound.

Following the committee’s decision, a playground and community center was razed to make way for the complex.

The tourism center was the brainchild of Elad, an organization working to settle Jews in Silwan, which also runs the City of David. It will be built on stilts so that visitors can view archeological discoveries below. The plan has the support of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Artifacts from the Roman, Late Byzantine and Second Temple periods have been discovered at the site.

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