Despite 6,000 rejections, Israel’s National Planning and Building Council approved a building plan for a new neighborhood in the Jerusalem Hills. The White Ridge planning project includes 5,250 housing units spanning about 1,045 dunams, or 260 acres. Two new buildings were also approved at the Ora Junction, though project leaders were asked to reduce the size of the originally 15-story towers.
The building project has been a long-term conflict between the desire to build out Jerusalem, and those who want to protect Jerusalem’s landscape and environment. The White Ridge project approval means removing 11,000 trees and an entire ecosystem which serves animals such as foxes, falcon, deer, and more. The plan also puts in danger the Lavan natural springs, which are drying up. Seen as the “green lung” of Jerusalem, the thousands who oppose believing that this damage is irreversible to Israel’s natural green land.
Head of the Sustainable Jerusalem coalition Naomi Tsur says that “We are all determined to continue and fight on behalf of the Jerusalem Hills, the green lung, the source of oxygen and main carbon sink for the center of the country – a region abundant with springs and animals, and, it goes without saying, for the 11,000 trees whose fate was just now determined. We will now appeal to the Supreme Court, while our other public activities continue at full strength. This is a national issue.”