The Old City Master Plan: From Professional Planning to Political Execution

On December 19, a master plan for the Old City came under discussion by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee. The plan’s declared objective is to facilitate development of the Old City while addressing the housing needs of its 35,000 residents. From the onset of discussions in the planning committee, its right-wing members voiced strong objections to the plan and made vigorous efforts to make substantial changes. Within weeks, concerted pressure by right wing city councilors and members of the Ateret Cohanim settler organization resulted in the removal of key components of the plan, and made it effectively serve as yet another instrument for Israeli takeover of Palestinian neighborhoods in the Old City basin.