Sunday, October 11, 2015
|Stark contrast between old and new apartment buildings, Ramat Gan, Israel / @ DAVider 2015|
Friday, September 18, 2015
Friday, March 12, 2010
Tip O'Neil's famous quote: "all politics is local" comes to mind this week. I am commenting on Joe Biden the US VP's uncomfortable position with regard to Jerusalem's city planning board approval of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem [Haaretz/EN]. Joe Biden came to make nice with Netanyahu and the Israeli leaders. Since peace negotiations with the Palestinians is crawling at a snail's pace, everyone wants to get the credit for bringing the two sides together. US president Obama is busy with domestic issues, he does not seem to be giving the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations any attention. Hillery Clinton tried her hand but did not win the hearts or minds of either side. So Biden was sent to give the negotiations a kick start. Biden came to make sure the Israeli's are not aggravating the Palestinians by building outside the green line. This is in keeping with the last agreement between the sides to cool down the bickering. On Biden's second day in Jerusalem the city's building authority announced approval of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem and up to 50,000 units outside the green line going forward a decade from now [Haaretz article]. This seemed like a planned "slap in the face" of Biden. Not so say most Jerusalem residents, Biden is not part of the equation this time and neither are the PalestiniansRead More...
Monday, August 10, 2009
Last week the Israeli Knesset voted to approve a land reform act. The law changes an old practice which the state owned the land in Israel. Most of the land in Israel was bought by the Jewish National Fund or appropriated by the state. Very little was transferred to individuals or organizations, today all state land is leased out to individuals and organizations. The law enables the state of Israel to sell 5% of the land to individuals, companies and organizations. For the first time in many parts of the country individuals will be able to own the land their homes or apartments sit on. The driving force here is the difficulty of having any building improvement approved by the Israel Land Trust (Minhal Mekarke'ei Israel), a government agency managing the land and leases. It will also ease new construction specially commercial and industrial construction in none urban locations. Strictly speaking any major changes to building on Israel state land needs the government's approval. The joke goes that to have a balcony closed you need to wait two years and even then you will not have your plan approved as you wanted. New construction approval is so difficult it has become a political game. Only large companies have been able to build regularly and in any significant scale.[see Ha'aretz]