How the Surge in East Jerusalem Construction Plans Could Spell End of Two-state Solution

Buoyed by Trump’s ascent to power, here are the plans that could create irrevocable facts on the ground.

By Nir Hasson, HAARETZ

Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the East Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa, March 16, 2015.
Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the East Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa,

Following Donald Trump’s ascent to power, several significant plans for building beyond the Green Line, in and near Jerusalem, are ready to be implemented soon, a paper prepared by the Ir Amim NGO says.

The plans could create irrevocable facts on the ground and effectively eliminate any options for a two-state solution, for a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, or for retaining Palestinian continuity between the city and the West Bank, the NGO says.

Plans on the agenda
The document, prepared by Ir Amim researcher Aviv Tatarsky, shows nine such plans for Givat Hamatos, the E-1 area, Har Homa, Kidmat Zion, Herod’s Gate, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo and Atarot.

Two of the plans, which the Obama administration vehemently opposed, are on Givat Hamatos, near Gilo, and E-1, an area next to Ma’aleh Adumim. Both are seen as strategic and their implementation could obstruct a two-state option by cutting into the territorial contiguity of Palestinian areas.

One plan for Givat Hamatos consists of 2,600 housing units east of the Palestinian village of Beit Zafafa, which would give Israel territorial contiguity from Har Homa to Gilo and cut East Jerusalem off from Bethlehem and the southern West Bank. It would also isolate Beit Zafafa from predominantly Palestinian areas.

Another construction plan for Givat Hamatos calls for 1,100 hotel rooms, some of which could be converted into apartments. The planning and construction authorities approved the plan in 2013, but never saw to its implementation.

Another plan, Har Homa West in the south of Jerusalem, consists of 400 housing units between Givat Hamatos and Har Homa. The plan was put on hold in 2009, but in 2015 the government announced it would advance it and expand it to 1,500 housing units.

In the past year right wing ministers and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat have urged the prime minister to advance construction for Jews on Givat Hamatos. But the Americans insisted against it.

“If Netanyahu wants to show that he is no longer restricted by the Americans, he’ll issue the construction bids for Givat Hamatos,” says Tatarsky.

The plan for E-1, east of Jerusalem, is expected more than any other to effect a dramatic geopolitical change. It calls for building 3,700 housing units and 2,100 hotel rooms on an expansive desert area. Infrastructure work was carried out years ago, preparing roads, squares and electricity poles.

In December 2012, following the UN’s General Assembly’s declaration upgrading Palestine to observer status, the Civil Administration approved two plans for a total of 3,426 housing units. But advancing them would require the evacuation of several hundred Bedouins residing in the area and opening the “apartheid road” – a road built years ago with a separation wall in the middle to enable Palestinian cars to travel on it without taking the highway linking Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumin.

It would be easier to advance plans like expanding the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo toward Beit Hanina, where 500 housing units are planned.

Another 2,100 housing units are planned for Gilo, in addition to those being built now (after disagreements with the American administration).

Another plan calls for building an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood instead of the Atarot air field north of Jerusalem. Despite the ultra-Orthodox community’s need for housing, Deputy Mayor Yossi Deitch (United Torah Judaism) rejects this possibility.

“First they must close down the airport and then make the plan, it’s a 15-year affair at least,” Deitch said.

The new U.S. administration is also expected to open the way for settler organizations Elad, Ateret Cohanim and others to settle more Jews in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The most significant of these is a plan for Kidmat Zion, an isolated swathe of territory near Abu Dis based on land owned by Jews before 1948 that was partly given to Ateret Cohanim by the Custodian General.

The Jerusalem municipality has a plan to build a neighborhood of 230 housing units for Jews in this area, which was later suspended. In the meantime several Jewish families reside there under heavy security.

The number of Jewish families living in Silwan has increased considerably in the past two years. Most of them have moved into houses bought by the Elad NGO or seized by Ateret Cohanim, citing Jews’ historic rights. Removing the political restrictions would accelerate development plans for the area.

“In the Obama days we advanced a number of plans in Arab neighborhoods without anyone knowing they were for Jews,” says Jerusalem council member Arye King. “Soon we’ll expose them in Beit Hanina, Beit Zafafa and other places. There’s a feeling that today things can be moved forward.”

Most left wing and international organizations, like Ir Amim, are convinced that the construction plans would create an irrevocable situation in which it would no longer be possible to divide Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians, if this isn’t the case already.

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10 Comments

  1. well guess what nir and ir amim all this is being done on JEWISH-ISRAELI land as allowed in international law. glad you had a green pen same colour as those who drew the arab Russian 49 surrender line. maybe the pen ink should have been pink.

  2. The moving of the embassy is symbolic. Besides it is going to west Jerusalem, not east Jerusalem.

    I am more interested in what Trump is prepared to allow in the way of settlement construction. If all the planned units are built, then without a doubt that’s the end of the TSS. Then there is nothing to stop building tens of thousands of unit. E1 is key.

  3. Build…Build…Build…
    It’s all Jewish Land..
    Tell the squatters to go to hell
    Tell the Swedes, the French and everyone in between: Choke on it…

  4. United States is “occupied” territory – Not Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria (The whole territory of the Historical Land of Israel)

    Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc is far more of an “occupied” capital or territory than Jerusalem (Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria have thousands of years of Jewish history and habitation).

    Europeans after creating new settlements, conquered an entire continent of North America, annihilated the natives, extracted its natural resources, kicked out the Mexicans and called it “America,” claiming first “Philadelphia” and afterwards, the city of Washington as its capital.
    Over six hundred thousand people died in the American Civil War that prevented the South from seceding and breaking apart the United States. How many people died when Berlin was divided until 1989 when communism was disintegrating, and again now Berlin is unified. The same applies to many of the Eastern European countries who were occupied by Russia and when the USSR was dissolved when the Berlin wall was knocked down they all abandoned communism between 1990-93 and returned to its own totally independent sovereignty.

    As regards the rest of the world, Jerusalem is one of the oldest capitals in the world, and it belongs to the Jewish people, it was never a Capital of any other nation.
    The world does not recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish capital, because the world does not recognize the right of Jews to exist. Those liberal Jews in USA and Europe and elsewhere who pander to the non-Jews by endorsing views that deny or compromise the Jewish sovereignty over The Historical Land of Israel and hoping that they would be “acceptable” are deluding themselves, they live in fantasy world, not reality. It did not help them with Nazi Germany who exterminated over 6 million Jews, men, women and children; or in the past 2,500 years in the Diaspora, when the Jews were persecuted, tortured, murdered and discriminated and it will not help them today.

    After WWI the Arabs/Muslims were allocated and received over 12 million sq. km. with a wealth of oil reserves and following in Napoleon intent in 1799 to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its former historical territory. The British in 1917 issued the Balfour Declaration that emulated Napoleon’s intent and The victorious Supreme Allied Powers incorporated the Balfour Declaration having the force of International law. Thus, the Jewish people were allocated 120,000 sq. km. of their historical territory. Today they have only about 21,000 sq. km., but the Arabs/Muslims and the world nations begrudge even that small peace of our Jewish historical territory. To add insult to injury, they joined the U.N. in issuing a resolution (non-binding with no legal standing) that the Jewish historical territory including Jerusalem has no Jewish connection. Which is absurd, and it only exposes the UN, as a puppet of Israel’s enemies and not as an organization that its charter is to promote peace and harmony among nations.

    The world nations stood idle and silent while The Arabs/Muslims terrorized, murdered and expelled over a million Jewish families with their children and confiscated all their assets, including personal property, businesses, homes and over 120,000 sq. km. of land. Real Estate which the Jewish people had owned for over 2,400 years (valued in the trillions of dollars); where were the world nations cries of protest and demand for justice and the return of Jewish Homes and Real Estate then and where are they now?

    Most of the expelled Jewish families from Arab/Muslim countries were resettled in The Land of Israel, and today comprise over half the population. The European nations had better refrain from demanding that the Jewish people in Israel should give up their historical land to the Arabs/Muslims; since the European nations have taken over the Jewish assets, personal property (Gold, Silver, Artifacts, etc.), businesses, homes and Real Estate and many of those Jewish people and their descendants and heirs were also resettled in The Historical Land of Israel.

    We the Jewish people returned to the occupied and desolate Land of Israel in the 1800’s and joined our Jewish brethren to re-blossom, revitalize and turn it into green pastures, with a new great economic infrastructure, industry and housing, after much toil and hard work and with the help infusion of capital and resources by our brethren in the Diaspora.

    We, The Jewish People, are proud and thankful to have back our historic sovereign Jewish country with an Army that can defend itself properly and in many cases Jews around the world.

    We the Jewish People will not surrender our land to nobody. We should be thankful to the almighty that we are in a similar position today as we were during the time of King David.
    The world as whole needs Israel and The Jewish People, more than the Jewish people need the world.

    History shows every nation or society that let the Jewish people thrive, prosper and flourish, also thrived and flourished.
    When a nation or society harassed, terrorized, murdered and discriminated against the Jewish people in their country, the country declined and its power and economy diminished greatly, if not disappeared altogether.

    Today’s time is not like the Spanish Inquisition or the Bolshevik era when Jews were persecuted and murdered or Nazi Germany when Jews tried to escape Nazi extermination Camps, they had nowhere to go for sanctuary. Even The Jewish Land of Israel aka Palestine allocated by The Supreme Allied Powers under international agreements to the Jews after WWI, was illegally blocked by the British, which caused many Jewish people to die.

    Today the Jewish people have the sovereign State Israel, with its strong defense, advanced technology and Medical innovations that the whole world relies on.
    May we be granted the honor we have in fact earned to live and see the rebuilding of The Jewish Temple in its previous holy site on Temple Mount also known as Mount Moriah.
    YJ Draiman

  5. Israel must build at least 100,000 housing units per year in Judea and Samaria for the next 10 years and more. It also needs to build 3 secure superhighway connecting Judea and Samaria to Israel.
    Construct extensive military bases in Judea and Samaria to protect the people and the country.
    Israel also needs to build at least 50,000 housing units per year in greater Jerusalem.
    Open Atarot airport and a high tech center and more industry, and build many additional roads and secure highways in and from Jerusalem with expanded rail system.
    Israel must also build a minimum of 15,000 housing units in the Galil and 15,000 housing units in the Negev every year for the next ten years and expand the infrastructure, public transportation – fast trains, roads and highways. They have to expand industry and commerce with incentives to enhance the desire of people to live in the Galil and the Negev.
    Construct military bases and local agencies in Judea and Samaria to protect and help the people and the country.
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. The Arabs were allocated after WWI over 12 million sq. km. of territory with a wealth of oil reserves. There is already an Arab Palestinian state allocated to them in violation of Agreements, which is on Jewish land over three times the size of Israel, east of the Jordan River; it is called Jordan where 80% of the population are Arab Palestinians and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have a Jordanian passport.
    Oslo accords are null and void as stated by Abbas in the U.N. in the summer of 2015. Israel must dismantle the Arab PA and include Judea and Samaria as a continuous sovereign part of Israel. Transfer Arab population to Jordan, Gaza and to the homes and the over 120,000 sq. km. of homes and land the Arab countries confiscated from the Million Jewish families they expelled who now settled in The Land of Israel.
    YJ Draiman

  6. Highly Unlikely the word “settlement” will be official language used by the Trump Administration to any building sites in Jerusalem

    As for the Embassy, someone must be digging for the docs that led to the Consulate 18 Agron – my guess it was to become the embassy once the Oslo Accords had brought forth a peace agreement.

    Besides, if confirmed, Friedman plans to live in his Jerusalem ap’t in Talbiya (Talbieh), step 1 in changing the paradigm, even if that is in the mythical ‘west’ Jerusalem.

  7. TSS: the perpetual nakba!
    Nobody listen to the “Pal”: They DO NOT WANT a state! What does the West REFUSE to understand? I get it.
    Antisemitism must be so overpowering!

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