Israeli development plan to encircle Jerusalem

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Jerusalem’s Local Planning Committee has permitted a number of plans for development of recent houses within the west and the east of town. But one plan particularly irked leftist and anti-occupation teams: 540 new housing items to be constructed within the Har Homa neighborhood within the southeast of Jerusalem, past the Green Line.

The new plan contains two 30-floor towers, three buildings 12 flooring tall, a big public inexperienced area, a brand new highway, areas designated for future public buildings and one other open area for the preservation of an historic aqueduct. The so-called Har Homa E space is an extension of the prevailing Har Homa neighborhood towards one other Jewish neighborhood within the space known as Givat Hamatos.

At current, Givat Hamatos is an space of cell houses and caravans, however this might change within the near future. Last January, contracts have been awarded for the development of some 1,200 housing items there. These plans have been additionally mentioned on the April 7 Local Planning Committee assembly.

If each plans are realized, Israel will obtain territorial continuity within the southeast of Jerusalem, successfully reducing off the West Bank from east Jerusalem. The Palestinian neighborhood Beit Safafa, situated to the west of Givat Hamatos, can be remoted from different Palestinian neighborhoods to the east and from Palestinian Bethlehem within the south.

Israeli development within the Jerusalem space outdoors the Green Line has been an internationally delicate concern for over a decade. The European Union and United States have strongly objected to such plans through the years. While then-Vice President Joe Biden was visiting in 2010, Israel pushed ahead plans for the development of 1,600 housing items within the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood within the north of Jerusalem, throughout the Green Line. The move sparked a diplomatic incident between Washington and Jerusalem.

Israel want to in-built the E1 space east of Jerusalem to attach the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim with the Jerusalem municipality. Here, too, the United States and the European Union have been pressuring Israel for years to not construct.

If the plans come to fruition, Ramat Shlomo within the north, the E1 zone within the east and Givat Hamatos and Har Homa within the south would envelop Jerusalem outdoors the Green Line in a big steady municipal territory.

On April 5, forward of the committee assembly, the nongovernmental group Ir Amim warned in opposition to the Har Homa E plan. “Portrayed as an extension to Har Homa, the plan will rather establish an entirely new settlement over the Green Line in Jerusalem between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos. … If constructed, Har Homa E along with Givat Hamatos will complete Israeli territorial contiguity along the southern perimeter and sever east Jerusalem from Bethlehem and the southern West Bank, dealing a death blow to the prospect of a viable Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.’’

Ir Amim also noted that this is the first time since now-President Biden took office that Israel has advanced construction beyond the Green Line, “a move which should be seen as a challenge to the new administration.’’

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum dismissed Ir Amim’s warning. She noted that the Har Homa plan was just one out of 27 discussed at the meeting, including plans for construction in Arab east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

There is no drama here,” she mentioned, noting that the planning course of started 5 years in the past.