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Is Jerusalem still safe for Bambi?

by michael November 25 2008
EnvironmentMunicipal news
111708bambi.jpg

You are cute, but must die to make room for a Cafe Hillel

Gazelles versus land developers: the timeless battle rages on.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and a host of well-intentioned artists have been struggling for years to save the titular four-legged ruminant residents of Gazelle Valley, 260 dunams of green space in the shadow of the city's most monstrous apartments, from a host of mustache-twirling robber barons who would like to turn the entire valley into a Zol Po supermarket, or something. And it seemed like they had achieved success when the city government agreed to halt all development plans and turn the Valley into a municipal park. But minor distractions like the law don't matter to the sorts of developers who look at a forest of trees and see a forest of high-rise, mid-income apartments (see under: Plan, Safdie):

The Israel Lands Administration yesterday issued a warning against renting land from a private contractor who illegally took possession of lands in Jerusalem's Gazelle Valley.

The contractor, Zacharia Kahalani, advertised the land in the media. "The advertiser does not hold any right to the land and the Administration has even filed to evict the people who claim to have rights on the land," the Administration's statement reads.
In a telephone conversation with Channel 2's Oded Ben Ami, Kahalani said the property belonged to him. He explained that he had received permission to dig there from the kibbutzim that own the land.

Not only should you not rent Kahalani's land, we also recommend you avoid any barbecues he may invite you to. With only seventeen left in the herd, we can't spare the gazelles.

Also - call Jerusalemite crazy - isn't the illegal seizure of private (or public) land grounds for...like...police intervention? Not that we're getting any - but, encouragingly, the Magistrate Court has blocked Kahalani's construction in the valley, and that court will hear a case against the developer this week brought by SPNI.

Image courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

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