Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making sense of Israels recent building plans in occupied territory

Israel’s defence ministry has published plans for 170 new housing units and another 84 guest rooms in the West Bank settlement of Rotem in the Jordan Valley, anti-settlement activists said on Sunday.
The settlement itself previously received government approval, but no building plan was set out, according to Hagit Ofran of the Peace Now organisation.
“Last week it was deposited for public review. It is talking about 200 units, 30 of them are already built. In addition, another 84 units are proposed for guest rooms,” she said.
“It will be deposited for 60 days for the public to file objections. After all objections are collected and heard, the planning committee will decide whether to approve or refuse the plan. Usually they approve it.”

 Building in Ramat Shlomo (Jerusalem)

The Israeli government has moved forward aggressively in recent weeks with settlement construction plans in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, prompting angry condemnation from the Palestinians, and international criticism. The developments can be confusing for those who try to keep track of the Israeli activity in settlements. So many plans and approvals, some of which lethal for the two state solution, make it clear that the Government of Netanyahu decided to push forward as many approvals as possible in order to set facts on the ground before the elections in Israel, as long as they don’t feel a “threat” of any renewal of the peace process. In order to make sense of them, Peace Now made a list:

Following are details of recent developments:
1. E1 and 3,000 new tenders
2. Plans for 6,600 units in East Jerusalem
3. Givat Hamatos
4. Tenders for 1,216 units the West Bank and East Jerusalem 
5. Gevaot: a new city South-West of Bethlehem is approved.

1) E1 and 3,000 new tenders - Following the UN resolution on a Palestinian state, the Government of Netanyahu announced the intention to promote the planning in E1 and to issue 3,000 tenders in settlements and in East Jerusalem. On December 5th, 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 in East Jerusalem were promoted. Using a fast track of the planning process, the planning committee in Jerusalem approved plans in Givat Hamatos, Ramat Shlomo and Gilo.
See more details here: http://peacenow.org.il/eng/PlanningStrikeEastJerusalem

3) Givat Hamatos – Givat Hamatos is a plan that if built, might prevent the territorial continuity between Bethlehem and the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Zafafa in South Jerusalem, and thus might prevent the possibility for a two state solution with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
The plan in Givat Hamatos is divided into 4 plans (A, B, C and D). The largest and the most lethal of them is Givat Hamatos A, for 2,610 units, got the final approval from the local planning committee on Wednesday (the 19th of December). The Regional planning committee have surprisingly rejected today plan C. However, unfortunately the rejection does not prevent the damage of the other plans. See more here.

4)  Tenders for 1,216 units in settlements – Yesterday, December 19th, the Ministry of Housing published the list of upcoming tenders that will be issued in the next few months, including 1,216 units in settlements and in East Jerusalem. These are part of the 3,000 units announced by the Government following the UN bid and include: 398 units in Beitar Illit; 108 in Karnei Shomron; 167 in Efrat; 102 in Imanuel; 167 in Givat Ze’ev; 106 in Adam (AKA Geva Binyamin); and 168 in Har Homa. Usually it takes a few months to a year from the issuing of the tender till the construction on the ground begins. See maps and full details here.

5) Gevaot: a new city South-West of Bethlehem - The Minister of Defense approved the promotion of a plan to build 523 units in a new settlement called Gevaot, South-West of Bethlehem. This is part of a larger plan to create a city of 6,000 units in an isolated area at the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. This is not a final approval of the plan it allows the promotion and depositing of it and within a year or two to even start the construction. See details and a map here.


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