After over 13 years of attempting to re-designate its lands in Talpiot in Jerusalem, which were classified as “green” and “public spaces” by the Municipal authorities, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem succeeded in passing an important stage in its endeavor to advance the land-use planning process of 90 dunums of it’s property in the Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem.
In 2004 these lands were classified by the Israeli planning and construction authorities as “green” lands and “public spaces” upon which construction is not permitted, as well as makes them, according to Israeli law, subject to confiscation and appropriation for the purposes of roads, parks and public places.
The Patriarchate submitted objections to the municipality’s plans, and successively, through engineers and experts, submitted alternative plans in cooperation with international and local companies, with the aim to increase the chances of the planning and building authorities to adopt the Patriarchate’s alternative plans and ensure the protection of the property.
The Patriarchate’s achievement is embodied in the Israeli municipality’s acceptance of initial land-use planning proposals submitted in cooperation with international and local investment companies, taking all measures and legal means to preserve the ownership of the land. The development plan for the land, part of which is located in areas classified as being in the 1948 areas and the other parts in the 1967 areas of Jerusalem, includes the construction of hotels, a commercial centre, offices and residential buildings through which hundreds of units will be provided for members of the different Christian congregations.
Though, the process of reaching the stages of final approval for the proposed plans by the Patriarchate and successfully obtaining the necessary licenses may take several years, the Patriarchate believes that this is an important step and in the right direction to continue with its’ development and construction strategy that it adopted to protect its properties and patrimony. It also considers it an additional achievement within the framework of the construction and development strategy that it is adopting to build vital projects in Jerusalem.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is working on building projects in the Holy City in cooperation with Palestinian and international businesspeople in order to provide solutions for the housing crisis and unemployment through investments that contribute to supporting its community of parishioners as well as Jerusalemites of all affiliations and denominations. Furthermore, Patriarch Theophilos III announced his intention to hold a meeting with the Heads of Churches to update them on the developments pertaining to the land and urge them to participate and cooperate for the benefit of the people of all their congregations.