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Court favors right-wing group on City of David park (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 03/26/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=263430 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The High Court of Justice dismissed a petition to stop the City of David Foundation (Elad) from operating the City of David Archeological Park outside Jerusalemís Old City walls, concluding a three-year legal saga. Left-wing activist organization Ir Amim filed the petition in July 2010, alleging that the contract between the National Parks Authority and the private Elad organization was illegal because the area is a national park and should be public.

Ir Amim charged that Eladís political agenda was ignoring the Arab history of the site and creating a conflict of interest.

In October, the court found that the contract between the National Parks Authority (NPA) and Elad could continue with some changes, clarifying that major decisions are the responsibility of the NPA but the day-to-day operations are run by Elad. With the courtís dismissal of the petition, Elad and the NPA will now sign a new three-year contract.

The City of David Park, which holds archeological ruins from the First Temple Period, has long been a source of tension between Elad and the Arab residents of Silwan, who accuse the park of encroaching on their land. Elad is a right-wing organization that supports Jewish residents in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan in addition to developing the archeological site.

Elad spokesman Udi Ragones said he was not surprised that the court denied the petition. ďWe knew the contract was fine,Ē he said, adding that the petition was part of a delegitimization campaign from left- wing organizations.

The City of David Park hosts around 450,000 visitors a year, up from 2,000 visitors in 2001, according to Ragones. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/26/12)

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