Sunday, August 03, 2008

Government expected to approve construction of new Arab City

Government expected to approve construction of new Arab city

Interior minister wants new Arab town to be built in Galilee in bid to resolve housing crisis
Roni Sofer

Arab minority to get new city: The government is expected to approve Sunday the establishment of a new Arab city in the Galilee region, in a bid to resolve the housing crisis faced young Arab couples in northern Israel.

The new city's establishment has been promoted by Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit. In a recent visit to Arab-Israeli town Umm al-Fahm, Sheetrit said: "We are aiming for a modern city where every young couple would be able to buy a house and live there just like in any other modern city in the world."

The government is expected to task an inter-ministerial team with formulating a plan for examining the issue. The government intends to accept the team's recommendations by the end of the year.

Ministers have been told that "demographic and social changes to the Arab population and the need to integrate it into Israel's economy and society require us to establish a new urban area for this population."

The site of the new city has not yet been decided and officials are said to be looking into several options. The Interior Ministry is expected to finance the establishment of the city. The prime minister and the housing and construction minister back the proposal, which will be brought up for a vote Sunday. The environmental affairs minister does not object to the plan, but the finance minister's stance is unclear at this time.

Comment:What responsibility has the gov't shown towards our Gush Katif refugees?Chana

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