Residents of Yerushalayim’s Arnona neighborhood, where the U.S. embassy now stands, have mounted a protest against the construction of a 15-foot-high security wall that will block their cherished view of the Dead Sea.
Opponents of the wall charge that work was begun without consulting local residents and that it threatens to disrupt the good relations between the embassy and its neighbors.
Leading the opposition is Miryam Shomrat, a former Israeli diplomat, who denounced the wall as a “savage” intrusion and demanded an immediate halt to it.
“We, the residents of Talpiot Arnona, are amazed to find that along our neighborhood’s Kfar Etzion St., a five-meter-high wall is about to completely block our access to the view which is part of our life in the area,” Shomrat wrote in a letter sent on Sunday to Yerushalayim Mayor Moshe Lion, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“The wall is being constructed under the pretext of ‘protecting’ the Embassy building, while everyone is aware that the south side of the building is completely exposed to an Arab village, and yet we have to pay a heavy price in terms of our quality of life without rhyme or reason,” she wrote.
The official response was not encouraging.
An embassy spokesperson told the Post that “the embassy is aware of the concerns expressed in the letter, and we are acting in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.”
Citing “very real security issues around the world,” the spokesperson said “all new US Embassy facilities are designed with security perimeters such as the one being constructed at Arnona.” There was no indication that they would reconsider the wall.