Donald Trump’s victory in the US may trigger the end of seven lean building years in Israel since 2009, when Israel made the mistake of approving a new Ramat Shlomo project in east Yerushalayim while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel. Yerushalayim officials said his victory might thaw plans to build 7,000 Yerushalayim apartments over the Green Line which have been on ice for at least two years, Times of Israel reported.
“We kept getting calls. The director general of the Prime Minister’s Office would always call the mayor and say don’t discuss these now, don’t authorize, it’s a sensitive time,” said Meir Turgeman, head of the Yerushalayim Municipality Planning and Construction Committee.
Yerushalayim Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, also a member of the committee, spoke of plans to construct 2,600 apartments on Givat Hamatos, 3,000 in Gilo, 1,500 in Ramat Shlomo and many other plans he hopes to get approved.
“Until now, we were told by the prime minister’s men to hold up plans and withdraw them,” he said. “That is over. From now on we intend to take the plans out of the deep freeze.”
It is also speculated that accelerated building in Beitar Illit and Modi’in Illit might provide thousands of extra apartments and help alleviate Israel’s housing crisis. Trump’s victory may also signal Israel’s expulsion of illegal Bedouin communities from the Gush Shemonim area and the removal of Palestinian squatters from the ancient settlement of Sussiya near Chevron.
This depends on whether Prime Minister Netanyahu is really interested in West Bank expansion or whether he used the Obama administration as an excuse. He has already urged ministers to wait until the new administration takes office before going overboard.
Meanwhile, Mayor Nir Barkat plans to promote a master plan to build 7,000 new Arab apartments in east Yerushalayim’s Tzur Bachar neighborhood in addition to a plan submitted two years ago for 7,000 Arab apartments in the Arav Aswachara neighborhood.
Barkat reportedly backtracked on his former refusal to build in the environmentally sensitive White Ridge area of western Yerushalayim and may construct 4,000 apartments in the area.