Building and Infrastructure Development in East Jerusalem

Building and Infrastructure Development in East Jerusalem


(Communicated by the Municipality of Jerusalem), Jerusalem, March 3, 1997


At its meeting of January 26, 1997, the Government of Israel decided on "the development of infrastructures and services in the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem, according to the list of projects approved and agreed upon between the Ministry of Finance and the Municipality of Jerusalem."

The Ministry of Finance and the Municipality have reached agreement on the investment of some NIS 130 million (approx. $39 million) in 1997, as supplementary expenditure for development and services, in the following areas (in NIS million):

1. Sanitation 5.6 1.67
2. Enforcement 1.5 0.45
3. City improvement 8.7 2.60
4. Transportation and engineering services 54.3 15.20
5. City planning 3.2 0.96
6. Building inspection 2.2 0.66
7. Tourism 13.5 4.03
8. Firefighting and rescue 1.9 0.57
9. Education (building & renovation) 10.6 3.16
10. Culture (buildings) 3.7 1.10
11. Society and youth (infrastructure) 1.0 0.30
12. Welfare (infrastructure) 11.2 3.34
13. Community administration (infrastructure) 10.1 3.00
14. Sports (infrastructure) 3.1 0.93
15. TOTAL 130.6 38.97

In order to advance the government decision of January 26, 1997, the Mayor of Jerusalem has instructed the relevant city departments to begin already this week the implementation of Stage A of the infrastructure plan, at a cost of NIS 25 million (approx. $7.5 million), through the interim funding of the municipality as follows:

1. Roads (reconditioning and paving) 13.6 4.06
2. Reconditioning of pavements and steps 3.7 1.1
3. Traffic and safety arrangements 0.7 0.21
4. Lighting, sewage and drainage 4.3 1.28
5. Building of schools 3.1 0.93
6. Total 25.4 7.58

Stage A of the plan includes infrastructure improvement in the Abu Tor neighborhood (about NIS 5 million - $1.5 million), the eastern main business district (about NIS 6 million - $1.8 million), and various works in other neighborhoods (about NIS 14 million - $4.18 million). Most of the work outlined above will be concluded wtihin six months, and the remainder within 14 months.

The plan for infrastructure improvement in Abu Tor includes the following:

1. Roads (reconditioning and paving) 1,337,000 400,000
2. Reconditioning of pavements and steps 501,000 150,000
3. Traffic and safety arrangements 153,000 45,670
4. Building of schools 3,100,000 925,000
5. Total 5,091,000 1,520,670


The Arab population of Jerusalem numbers some 170,000 residents (28% of the city's population). By the year 2010, the Arab population is expected to increase by 47% (80,000 persons), to reach a total of 250,000.

The demand for housing units in the Arab sector is estimated at 1,000 units annually. The available supply in currently approved plans is about 3,000 housing units, as follows:

Number of Housing Units for Development
Beit Zafafa 450
Arab a-Suwahra 500
Jabel Mukaber 75
Abu-Tor 70
Silwan 130
Ras al-Amud 620
A-Sheikh 480
A-Sawani 70
A-Tur 120
Isawiya 500
Total 3,015

At its meeting of February 26, 1997, the Government of Israel decided to begin the immediate implementation of the necessary infrastructure for the construction of these 3,015 housing units. In most of these neighborhoods, infrastructure development is a necessary condition for the granting of building permits, as these will not be approved in the absence of proper infrastructure (especially roads).

The Municipality of Jerusalem estimates that the accelerated development of infrastructure in eastern Jerusalem will encourage the Arab landowners to build construction projects, both for their own use and for sale on the free market.

In addition, the Municipality of Jerusalem has asked that the government allocate resources for the reparcelization plans in north Jerusalem, in the Beit Hanina and Shuafat neighborhoods, as well as the funds needed to plan saturation building (up to four housing units per dunam) in Kafr Akeb, Beit Hanina and Shuafat.

It is expected that these three tracks -- development, reparcelization and saturation building -- will bring about the desired change in the promotion of private building in eastern Jerusalem.

Infrastructure development includes:

  • Paving of roads (temporary and final)
  • Grading of roads
  • Drainage system
  • Building of pavements
  • Street lighting
  • Water supply system
  • Sewage system
  • Road safety fixtures

The Abu Tor Neighborhood

The Abu Tor neighborhood, located south of the Old City, extends over 504 dunams, bounded on three sides by deep ravines: to the north, the Ben Hinnom Valley, separating it from Mount Zion and the City of David; to the east, the Kidron Valley, separating it from Silwan; and to the south, a ravine separating it from the broad open space leading to East Talpiot. The upper slopes are relatively moderate, but near the bottom they become steeper. A detailed plan for the area was prepared in 1941, and incorporated in the Jerusalem city plan in 1944. After the 1967 Six Day War, a detailed plan for the area was prepared, but not approved. This plan was reintroduced and revised in 1975.

The new plan redefined the construction area, including those areas where building existed or where topography allows for construction, and permitted building in the nucleus of the village, subject to professional approval of each building permit. An incomplete road network was defined based on the then existing building, which does not provide motor access to each house - a problem which was solved by pedestrian paths. The major road in the area comprised by the plan is the ring road which links Silwan and Ras al-Amud in the east with the Old City in the north. Public areas were defined at great effort by a 40% reallocation by means of the unification and reparcelization of the existing plots, with the agreement of the landowners.


The above-mentioned government decisions and the concomitant plans for implementation are expected to improve the services provided to the Arab neighborhoods, according to the following goals:

  • the advancement of building
  • significant improvement of the quality of life and the environment
  • the development and encouragement of tourism
  • the development of economy and commerce
  • the enhancement of security and safety
  • the development of the education system.

Building in Jerusalem - Background
Har Homa - Legal Aspects
Building in Jerusalem - Har Homa: Special Update
Press for print versionPrint version
Send To Friend