Efrat Gets Green Light for Housing Next to Beit Lechem

YERUSHALAYIM

Following the terrorist murder of Ari Fuld Hy”d, residents of his hometown of Efrat have renewed longterm efforts to obtain government approval for new housing on a hilltop next to Beit Lechem, and now it looks like it could happen.

A project consisting of as much as 2,500 homes has begun the lengthy process of official plans and permits before construction.

On December 26, the Civil Administration posted a notice on its website that it intends to start planning for homes on 1,182 dunams of state land on the Givat HaEitam hilltop.

Upon instructions from the High Court, it also notified Peace Now and Palestinians in the area of its intentions. They oppose it on the grounds that it would prevent any further development of Beit Lechem, which is already hemmed in by the Jewish Yerushalayim neighborhood of Har Homa on its other side.

Another issue that could hinder the project is the use of an access road through private Palestinian property which surrounds the site.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said that in certain circumstances, private Palestinian property could be used for access roads to Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron. Whether this project will qualify in the eyes of the attorney general remains to be seen.

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