In a Dec. 30, 2013 post, CAMERA asserted that Reuters should correct the assertion in Noah Browning’s Dec. 20 article (“In bleak Arab hinterland, hints of Jerusalem’s partition“) that there has been no building plan, and therefore no legal construction, in Shuafat in 45 years.
CAMERA had cited information provided by Ariela Smilensky-Deri, a spokeswoman for the engineering department of Jerusalem municipality, detailing multiple building plans for Shuafat in recent years, enabling the construction of hundreds of legal residential units.
Reuters has since noted that Browning’s statement regarding building plans in Shuafat applies to the Shuafat refugee camp beyond the security barrier, and not a separate neighborhood of the same name.
The municipality’s spokeswoman’s response related to the Shuafat neighborhood, and not the refugee camp. Regarding construction plans in the Shuafat refugee camp itself, Smilensky-Deri writes:
The previous response [to CAMERA] does not relate to the refugee camp outside the barrier, and in that area there is no approved building plan.The Jerusalem municipality put forward a plan for this area several years ago. The regional committee and the local committee approved the initial stages of the plan, but when measurements were carried out, it was discovered that in the meantime entire buildings were built in public spaces and other areas designated as part of the plan, making it impossible to implement the plan, and so it was cancelled.The extent of the illegal building that has been carried out in the camp can be seen when travelling on the road to Maalei Adumim [from Jerusalem]. It should be noted that it does not now seem possible to find a planning solution for construction in the refugee camp.