Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The zoning sub-committee for East Jerusalem, 26 Sept. 1967

The first meeting of the zoning sub-committee for East Jerusalem took place on September 26th 1967. The significance of the event is that the first hurried rush to stake Israel's claim to East Jerusalem and to create initial facts was over, and the bureaucracy was now preparing to operate as it did elsewhere. So the Zoning Committee for Jerusalem in the Minsitry of the Interior set up a sub committee, and sat down to work. Its members were drawn mostly from the Ministry of the Interior and the municipality of Jerusalem, along with a few officials from other ministries such as Construction (obvious) and Agriculture (not obvious).

The first meeting was mostly procedural. As we follow the meetings of the subcommittee in future posts, let's hope some of them are dramatic and all are significant. (I've only read the first two myself). This one started with a discussion about how many consultants to hire (many) and how often to convene (weekly, for the time being).

There was a statement of principle, about how all construction in East Jerusalem must be done in accordance to the Israeli procedures, licences and zoning rules. (This did not happen).

Finally, near the end of the meeting the members got into a discussion about a specific matter: the future of the Western Wall: what should the open space in front of it look like? Terraced? Sloping down? Paved? Where should the public toilets be? Everyone agreed that the area should be done correctly, but they didn't manage to agree what that might mean. So they made two decisions. One, to relate to the entire area from the Wall down to Dung Gate. And two, to send some of the members and consultants over to have a look and come back with proposals.

Source: file גל-4010/18

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