Israel approves tourist new archaeological center in tense Arab neighborhood

JERUSALEM (AP).- The Israeli government has given a hardline Jewish group permission to build a new archaeological center in a tense Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, officials said Tuesday. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said Tuesday that a Jerusalem planning committee approved the project this week. The public has 60 days to appeal. Any Israeli-backed project in east Jerusalem runs the risk of sparking protests that can escalate into violence, as conflicting claims to the area are at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The center is to be built in Silwan, an impoverished neighborhood next to Jerusalem’s Old City. Arab residents often clash with Israeli police and guards who protect 80 Jewish families who settled there. The center is planned by Elad, a pro-settler group that runs archaeological digs in Silwan. It will be built above an excavation area called the City of David, leaving the ruins below accessible. The area is named for the biblical monar