Israel halts construction at hotel site

PressTV – Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:2AM

Israeli bulldozers demolished the old building of the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah to build 20 new settler units.
Following an emergency complaint against Israel’s illegal construction at the site of a recently demolished hotel in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), Tel Aviv says it has put a temporary halt on the project.

The appeals committee of the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee issued a temporary injunction order to halt construction work at the site of the Shepherd Hotel compound, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on Monday.

The Interior Ministry appeals committee is scheduled to hold a meeting on the issue on Wednesday.

Israeli bulldozers demolished the historic hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah district in a bid to build 20 new settler units.

Construction, however, was halted after the attorney for The Muslim Committee in Israel, Kais Nasser, filed an emergency complaint against the project, which was planned to house about 100 Jewish residents.

According to the attorney, the construction is “both illegal, an act of political revenge.”

“The request for a permit has a political and Zionist agenda,” Nasser further explained.

He went on to say that housing for a Jewish community cannot be built in the heart of an Arab neighborhood.

Nasser also argued that the Shepherd Hotel should be preserved because of its historical and cultural significance. The hotel was once the home of the Grand Mufti of al-Quds, Hajj Amin al-Husseini.

The hotel demolition has been denounced by the international community.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both strongly condemned the demolition of the hotel. Ban said the action would “heighten tensions.”

Israel, however, dismissed the international criticism, describing the remarks as “shallow.”

Israel seized East al-Quds along with the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, and later annexed it in defiance of calls from the international community.

It has, so far, ignored calls by the Palestinians and the United States for a halt to settlement activities in the West Bank and, in particular, al-Quds, which it claims as its “eternal, indivisible” capital.

SB/TG/HRF

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