Developer delays controversial housing project in East Jerusalem
July 26, 1997
Web posted at: 2:11 p.m. EDT (1811 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The construction of controversial new
Jewish housing in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem has
been delayed amid Palestinian threats of renewed violence.
"As of now, the decision is not to let it go ahead and that
is precisely what is going to happen," said David Bar-Illan,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's communications chief.
Israeli Army radio reported Saturday that American real
estate developer Irvin Moscowitz had postponed plans to build
65 homes on 3 1/2 acres in the Ras el-Amud neighborhood of
The radio report said that Miami millionaire Moscowitz had
telephoned Netanyahu and said that construction would not
Moscowitz said he feared that "political elements" would stop
the work once it got started, and that he would therefore
prefer to wait until the controversy died down, the radio
Jerusalem's city government had approved the construction
plan Thursday night, despite apparent opposition by Netanyahu
and renewed warnings by Palestinians that the construction
might spark fresh violence.
The chief Palestinian representative in Jerusalem, Faisal
Husseini, said Saturday that the city's decision was "another
serious provocation and another clear invitation for more
clashes and for ending the peace process."
Ahmed Tibi, an adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat,
told Israel's Army Radio that Palestinian patience has
already been strained to the breaking point and said the
announcement was tantamount to a war declaration.
"This is a conscious declaration of war against the
Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the Palestinians in
general," Tibi said. "It is total defiance of the spirit of
the signed (peace) agreement. What more can be expected of
Earlier this year, Netanyahu's controversial decision to
build Jewish housing in a disputed neighborhood on the
outskirts of East Jerusalem sparked violent protests in the
West Bank, and effectively halted the peace process.
But now, some political analysts say, he may have no choice
but to take the Palestinian side, in order to prevent further
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.
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