Amid denial, plans for a new Israeli settlement neighborhood in occupied east Jerusalem looms

Posted: 11/06/2016

 

At the time the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem denies any news related to the advancement of a settlement plan near Qalandyia airport, in occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli Hebrew news website, WALLA[1], reports that the Jerusalem Municipality is promoting the construction of a new and huge settlement neighborhood on the old airport area north of the Atarot industrial settlement in Jerusalem, near Qalandyia village. The article was published on the 5th of June 2016 and states that the new neighborhood will include the construction of 15,000 new settlement units in the area.  

Additionally, to the south of the Atarot Industrial Settlement (Zone), the Municipality is reportedly planning to allow for the construction of 2,600 - 3,000 new apartments for Palestinians, in an open area that separates the Atarot Industrial settlement from the town of Beit Hanina, parallel to the Israeli bypass road No. 50. See Map 1.

Map 1: planned settlement neighborhood north of Jerusalem

 

The planned settlement neighborhood has not been approved yet, however, the newspaper reported that some officials at the Municipality of Jerusalem, namely the city’s engineer, Shlomo Eshkol, and chairman of the Local Planning and Construction committee, are pushing the plan and intend to begin the process of planning and gain quick approval within a year from now as they are set to meet with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning to present the maps of the two aforementioned plans.

The plan to build this settlement neighborhood occurred almost a decade ago when the Israeli daily newspaper “Haaretz” reported on its website on the 28th of February 2007[2], that a plan was submitted by the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction to establish a new Jewish neighborhood comprising of 11,000 housing units north of Jerusalem[3]. The area designated for the establishment of the new neighborhood is located within the Israeli illegally and unilaterally redrawn Jerusalem municipal boundaries of 1967, in an area that has been designated for decades as “no building zone” and Palestinians were denied rights to establish a community on their own land. 

Apparently, Israel is trying to mislead the International community with regard to its real intention of the whole building issue in occupied East Jerusalem. It promotes small building projects for Palestinians in the city, such as the one near Beit Hanina, while looms for huge projects in the Israeli settlements nearby. Additionally, the Municipality imposes discriminatory practices on Palestinians that prevent them from building homes in occupied East Jerusalem (and the rest of the West Bank) and imposes huge charges for building licenses that are for Palestinians.

A report released by Bimkom (Planners for Planning Rights) in 2014 indicated that during the years, 2005 and 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality issued 3,197 building permits for residential construction throughout Jerusalem city. Of these permits, 603 (about 18.9%) were issued for construction in Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem; 662 permits (about 20.7%) were issued for construction in Israeli settlements (within the City's municipal boundaries) and 1,932 permits (about 60.4% of the total) were issued for construction in West Jerusalem[4]. For more details, See Photo 1 

Source: Bimkom (Planners for Planning Rights) in 2014
TRAPPED BY PLANNING: Israeli Policy, Planning, and Development in the Palestinian Neighborhoods of East Jerusalem

 

Later in December 2015, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz indicated in article published on its website that “only 7% of the building permits issued in Jerusalem city over the past few years (2010-2015) have gone to Palestinian communities where 40 percent of the city’s population lives[5]”. The article based its information also on data provided by Bimkom organization which shed the light on the sharp drop in the number of building permits granted to Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem over the past five years, compared to building permits granted to settlements during the same period.

 

[1] חשיפה: עיריית ירושלים מתכננת שכונת ענק יהודית מעבר לקו הירוק
http://news.walla.co.il/item/2967549

[2] Gov't Promoting Plan for New ultra-Orthodox East Jerusalem Neighborhood
http://www.haaretz.com/news/gov-t-promoting-plan-for-new-ultra-orthodox-east-jerusalem-neighborhood-1.214278

[3] "One more Obstacle to Peace": A new Israeli Neighborhood on the lands of Jerusalem city
http://www.poica.org/details.php?Article=9538

[4] TRAPPED BY PLANNING: Israeli Policy, Planning, and Development in the Palestinian Neighborhoods of East Jerusalem
http://bimkom.org/eng/wp-content/uploads/TrappedbyPlanning.pdf

[5] Only 7% of Jerusalem Building Permits Go to Palestinian Neighborhoods
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.690403?ts=_1465637876017

 

 

Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem