The Israeli ‘Local Planning and Building Committee’ in occupied Jerusalem is discussing next Monday two settlement schemes, where 3884 new Israeli settlement units are to be built in the east and south of the Holy City.
The first scheme includes the building of a new illegal Israeli settlement in Ras Al-Amoud neighbourhood in Silwan town, where 384 units are planned to be built on Palestinian lands. The settlement is expected to be a hotbed of Israeli settlers’ violence against the Palestinian people in this highly populated area.
Ras Al-Amoud neighbourhood is located southeast of the Old City of Jerusalem – between occupied Jerusalem and Jericho – overlooking the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Silwan to the south and Abu Dis and al-Eizariya to the east.
The second scheme includes the building of 3,500 new settlement units and many commercial structures next to the Givat HaMatos settlement, south of Jerusalem, according to the “Peace Now” Israeli movement.
“The ‘Local Planning and Building Committee’ is expected to discuss a plan to establish the new settlement ‘Kidmat Tsion’ consisting of 384 units, which will be built in the heart of eastern Jerusalem,” said the movement.
It explained that the settlement organization “Ateret Cohanim” is working on the implementation of the plan on the remaining Palestinian lands in the east of the Ras Al-Amoud neighbourhood near Jericho Road.
The second scheme targets 140 dunams of Palestinian lands to build 3,500 settlement units.
Intensifying settlers’ existence
“The local committee of the occupation municipality will recommend during its meeting next Monday to the District Planning and Building Committee of the ‘Israeli Ministry of Interior’ to approve the two settlement plans in Ras al-Amud and south of Jerusalem,” said Fakhri Abu Diab, a specialist in Jerusalem affairs.
Abu Diab explained that the Israeli occupation wanted to intensify the Israeli settlers’ existence in the heart of Jerusalem by increasing the number of settlers and settlements in Ras al-Amud to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
He added that by building thousands of settlement units in “Givat HaMatos”, the Israeli occupation is moving forward with more settlement expansion towards Bethlehem in the south, and Abu Dis and Al-Eizariya in the east, within the so-called “Greater Jerusalem”, thus separating occupied Jerusalem from Bethlehem.
It’s noteworthy that the two settlement schemes target Jeruslaemite communities, which means that more Palestinian citizens will be displaced from their homes and lands, so the Israeli settlers can rob their lands easily. These planes also aim to prevent any Palestinian population and urban expansion on their lands in Jerusalem.
Racism and double-standard measures
While the Israeli occupation extensively and easily granted illegal Israeli settlers permits to build more settlement units and expand their settlements on Palestinian lands, many Palestinian building plans for Jerusalem neighbourhoods, such as Ain al-Loza and Al-Bustan in the town of Silwan, have been rejected.
Years ago, the Israeli occupation municipality converted a plan to build housing units for Jerusalemites in the town of Jabal Mukaber, after it was approved, into Israeli settlement units, which proves the Israeli occupation’s racist bias towards the settlers against the people of Jerusalem.
The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem claims that 22,000 Palestinian housing units in Jerusalem are “illegal and built without a permit.” However, The “five-year plan” recently approved by the extremist government stipulates approval for the construction of 2,000 housing units for Jerusalemites, which is a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinians to their lands.
Recently, the Palestinians in Jerusalem demanded the municipality to cancel the demolition orders against 2000 in the city instead of expelling their residents to live outside the city, but it rejected.