Plan for Yeshiva at Sheikh Jarrah not Approved by District Committee and Delay in Advancement of E-1 Plans

July 21, 2020
Plan for Yeshiva at Sheikh Jarrah not Approved by District Committee
Yesterday the District Committee discussed the the plan for a Yeshiva (religious educational institution) and accompanying dormitory in Sheikh Jarrah.Yesterday's discussion was intended to be the final one for deciding on the plan's approval. In February this year, Ir Amim wrote to the District Committee in order to correct inaccurate information that was provided to them by the Jerusalem Municipality in support of approving the plan. Ir Amim supplied detailed information regarding the shortage of classrooms in Sheikh Jarrah and statements from municipality officials who have explained over the years that the main obstacle to the construction of  the needed schools in East Jerusalem has been a lack of land plots with proper land designation in the approved outline plans for the neighborhood. This issue is of major importance since the plot relevant for the building of the Yeshiva is designated in the Sheikh Jarrah outline plan as being for public buildings for the needs of the neighborhood's residents.

Yesterday's session ended with the committee deciding that the plan cannot be approved before the neighborhood's needs are assessed. The committee instructed the Jerusalem Municipality to prepare a survey of the lands designated for public purposes in Sheikh Jarrah and the needs of the neighborhood's population. The survey is to be prepared within 60 days, after which the committee will discuss the plan again.

This unexpected decision is of great importance. It creates a significant obstacle to the approval of the Yeshiva plan and requires the Municipality to describe in detail the needs of the Palestinian neighborhood. Also, the decision is a clear expression of the fact that settlements in East Jerusalem come directly at the expense of the basic needs of Palestinians in the city.

A Delay in Advancement of E-1 Plans
Since the beginning of July, COVID-19 infections have been spreading in the West Bank. The PA has had to again announce closures and set limitations on travel and meetings. As such, the lawyer representing the Azariya Municipality and a few Bedouin communities affected by the E-1 plans has asked the Civil Administration to extend the period for submitting their objections.

In response, the Civil Administration agreed that these communities could submit their objections by August 28th. This is not a general decision regarding the objections' period (due to end on August 9th) but currently holds only for the communities mentioned above.
Still, the meaning of the decision is that the discussion of objections will not take place before August 28th.