Court lets disputed Jerusalem home-building continue
March 19, 1997
Web posted at: 12:39 p.m. EST (1739 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel's Supreme Court Wednesday refused
to halt construction of a Jewish neighborhood in disputed
East Jerusalem, as requested by Arab landowners and Israeli
peace activists. Bulldozers ripped into the disputed
hillside for a second day while dozens of troops stood guard.
The justices rejected two petitions for temporary
injunctions. The petitions claimed the housing project
discriminates against Jerusalem's Palestinian population
because the planned 6,500 homes are intended only for Jews.
Instead, the government was ordered to explain within 60 days
why the petitions should not be granted.
The court delayed for a week its hearing on a third appeal
from a Jewish company whose land was confiscated by the
The site is called Har Homa by Israel and known to Arabs as
Jabal Abu Ghneim.
No trouble at construction site
Israeli forces remained on high alert for potential violence
from Palestinians, who say the housing project violates peace
accords with the Jewish state. Palestinians also see the
east of Jerusalem as their future capital.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet approved the
project despite warnings from Palestinians and Israeli
security officials of widespread unrest.
There were some stone-throwing clashes after ground was
broken Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, however, 300
Palestinians marched peacefully in the West Bank town of
Supporters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat kept the crowd
away from Israeli soldiers to prevent clashes.
'Green light' for terrorism disputed
Also Wednesday, Netanyahu repeated his charge from a day
earlier that Arafat had given
Islamic militants a "green light" to resume bombings such as
suicide attacks that killed scores of Israelis a year ago.
"We have solid information from the Israeli intelligence. We
see contacts of the PLO with Hamas and other
organizations," he told Israel Radio.
The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it had no evidence to
support the prime minister. "On the contrary, we have recent
assurances from Chairman Arafat that he stands against
violence," spokesman Nicholas Burns said.
The United States said on Tuesday peace efforts could be
crushed by the Israeli project. The Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) called for an immediate meeting of the
U.N. Security Council to demand a halt to the settlement.
Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers and Reuters contributed to this report.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.