Settlement round-up: Thousands new homes planned for East Jerusalem, West Bank

A breakdown of the myriad of settlement plans being aggressively pursued in recent weeks.

By Hagit Ofran and Lior Amihai

The past few weeks may have been confusing for those who try to keep track of Israeli settlement activity. So many plans and approvals, some of which are lethal for the two-state solution, make it clear that the Netanyahu government has decided to push forward as many plans as possible in order to determine facts on the ground before the elections in Israel, as long as there is no “threat” of any renewal of the peace process.

Following are the details of the recent developments in settlements:

1. E1 and 3,000 new tenders
2. Plans for 6,600 units in East Jerusalem
3. Givat Hamatos
4. Tenders in Efrat, Karnei Shomron and Givat Ze’ev
5. A Palestinian family is threatened with eviction in Sheikh Jarrah

1. E1 and 3,000 new tenders – Following the UN resolution on a Palestinian state, the government of Netanyahu announced the intention to promote planning in E1 and to issue 3,000 tenders in settlements in East Jerusalem. On December 5, the plans for the construction of 3,426 units in E1 were approved for depositing.

See more here: Everything you need to know about E1

2. Plans for 6,600 units in East Jerusalem – in parallel, almost all of the main pending plans for East Jerusalem were promoted. Using a fast track planning process, the planning committee in Jerusalem is approving plans in Givat Hamatos, Ramat Shlomo and Gilo.

See more details here.

3. Givat Hamatos – Givat Hamatos is a plan that, if built, could prevent territorial continuity between Bethlehem and the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Zafafa in South Jerusalem, and could thus prevent the possibility for a two-state solution with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

The plan in Givat Hamatos is divided into four plans (A, B, C and D). The largest and the most lethal of them is Givat Hamatos A, for 2,610 units, which was approved by the local planning committee this past week. The regional planning committee surprisingly rejected plan C. However, the rejection unfortunately does not prevent the damage from the other plans.

See more here.

4. Tenders in Efrat, Karnei Shomron and Givat Ze’ev – On December 18, Israeli Channel 2 reported that next week, the Ministry of Housing will publish several tenders for hundreds of units in West Bank settlements of Efrat, Karnei Shomron and Givat Ze’ev. These are part of the 3,000 units announced by the government following the UN bid.

5. And in addition to all that, a Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah is under threat of being kicked out of its home in order to enable settlers to move in. The issue of settlements at the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Sheikh Jarrah in particular became a central political issue after, in 2009, two Palestinian families were kicked out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and settlers moved in. Another eviction would add more tension and friction to the fragile and sensitive situation in East Jerusalem.

The involvement of an official government authority in the eviction is of specific concern. See more here.

Finally, and unfortunately, it seems that there will be more to come, all too soon.

Hagit Ofran is the director the Settlement Watch project of Peace Now. Lior Amihai is a staff member on the Settlement Watch project.