Alert: Government asked to Approve Tomorrow a Budget of Millions to Settler Led Archaeological-Touristic Projects in Jerusalem’s Historic Basin

Not only the Flag Parade: To honour Jerusalem Day tomorrow the government of Israel is expected to announce a decision to finance stage II of the “Shalem Plan” to the sum of 16 million NIS over the next year and half. In essence this is a political decision to continue to finance the Elad Foundation’s pseudo-archaeological settlement project, and continue to recruit the Israel Antiquities Authority for her private ideological needs. The series of projects included in both phases of the plan are intended to change the demographic and historic character of East Jerusalem in general and the Historic Basin in particular.

On Jerusalem Day in 2017 and in 2018 the government had voted to approve budgeting Stage I of the Shalem Plan for the development of ancient Jerusalem and “thereby enhance Jerusalem’s status as an international city of faith, heritage, culture and tourism.” The framework of the Shalem Plan enabled the most problematic ventures of the Antiquities Authority from a professional and ethical perspective which included the excavation of the Stepped Street (dubbed the “Pilgrim’s Road”) which runs under the homes of residents in Wadi Hilweh in Silwan. The objective of the tunnel is to link to tourist sites inside the Old City with a Jewish historical identity and therefore reshape the way in which tourists understand the history of the city.

The Shalem Plan B which is scheduled to be approved in a government decision tomorrow will expand the connection between the sites run by the Elad Foundation from the City of David to the Armon Hanatziv area where an 800 meter zipline is planned, and to the Hinnom Valley which has recently been handed over to the Elad Foundation to run a biblilcally themed agricultural center. Together with the cable car approved earlier this month by the High Court, these developments will completely change the story and landscape of Jerusalem. Instead of a diverse multicultural city Jerusalem will be rebranded as a city whose where thousands of years of history are curated story from a single enthno-centric perspective.

Emek Shaveh: The plan which the government of Israel will be asked to approve tomorrow is tailor made for the Elad Foundation. The government will invest millions of shekels in a plan to advance the ideology of an extreme settlers’ organization. Instead of a multicultural historic city we will end up with a city whose heritage has been outsourced to a right-wing settler organization.

We demand that the government of “change” cease the intimate relationship with an organization whose projects together with the cable car are intended to completely change the story and skyline of Jerusalem, the city which is holy to three faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.