Israel backs off housing project at Jerusalem’s Atarot airport site amid US pressure

The abandoned Atarot Airport, north of Jerusalem, on November 25, 2021. (credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
Officials notify White House they won’t move forward with plan to build 9,000 units on abandoned plot at northern tip of the capital, across the pre-1967 Green Line.

By Jacob Magid | The Times of Israel | Nov 25, 2021

Opponents of the project argue that it would hamper dwindling efforts to advance a two-state solution, by bisecting a large part of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.

Israel informed Biden administration officials on Thursday that it has shelved a controversial plan to advance a massive housing project in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Atarot following pushback from Washington, a senior Israeli official confirmed to The Times of Israel.

The project, which received preliminary approval from Jerusalem’s local municipal planning committee earlier this week, would see 9,000 housing units for ultra-Orthodox Jews built on the abandoned site of the former Atarot Airport. The area was annexed by Israel as part of the post-1967 expanded Jerusalem, but lies beyond the Green Line.

The plan was removed from the agenda of a December 6 meeting of the District Committee for Planning and Building, under the auspices of the Finance Ministry, the official said.

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