Press Release: A Hard Blow to the El’ad Initiative and the Mayor of Jerusalem concerning the Building of the Kedem Compound

The National Appeals Committee fragmented El’ad’s monstrous building plan and established principles which create a precedent for any building plans on archaeological sites in the country.

The National Appeals Committee accepted a significant portion of the claims which Emek Shaveh and the other petitioners presented and sent the procedure concerning the Kedem Compound back to the Regional Planning Committee.

  1. At least half of the area of the antiquities must be exposed to the public view; the building itself will cover no more than half of the area of the antiquities.
  2. The size of the building will be considerably reduced in percentage. For instance, the Committee rejected the proposal of El’ad to devote an entire floor to an exhibit of the archaeological history of what they called “the floor of active archaeology”.  The Committee determined that this exhibit does not do service to archaeology itself.
  3. The plan for building a parking garage of 250 spaces next to the antiquities area must be reconsidered.
  4. In any case, there will not be any building of foundations on more than 3% of the antiquities area.
  5. The Committee decided that the building should function only as an archaeological and historical exhibit space. This means a significant decrease of the area for commerical enterprise and tourism.
  6. The Committee decided that any plan for the preservation of an archaeological site must be submitted to a public debate. This decision of the Committee is in direct opposition to the position of the head of the Antiquities Authority.

It was also decided, as a precedent, that in plans which require exceptional divergences from standard practice, in which archaeology is at the heart of the architectural approach, the public must have the opportunity to express its opinion.  The Antiquities Authority does not have exclusive rights in decisions concerning archaeological preservation.

The decisions of the Committee to send the plan back to the Regional Planning Committee, to shrink significantly the size of the building and to renew the discussion concerning the preservation of archaeological sites, basically mean that there will be a long delay in the building procedure. If and when the building goes up, its size will be considerably more modest and less threatening to the character of historical Jerusalem.

The document of the decision of the Committee concerning the Kedem Compound is lengthy and detailed.  We intend to study it closely in the coming days and to then consider our future actions.

For more information on the objections and on ‘Kedem Center,’ click here.

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