Israeli authorities promoted 2,275 settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem over the past two months, reported an Israeli NGO, "while touristic settlement plans advance[d] under the radar".
According to Ir Amim, "two large-scale plans for a total of 608 new housing units beyond the Green Line were deposited for public objections" yesterday, including 345 units in Gilo settlement and 263 units to extend Ramot settlement east.
"The Gilo plan is being promoted in tandem with development of the new Green Line branch of the Light Rail (construction of which was launched in May), which will be built adjacent to the settlement expansion," the NGO added.
"This sequencing of events once again exemplifies a pattern of the state investing billions of shekels in transportation infrastructures to allow for extensive construction beyond the Green Line."
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Ir Amim noted that the "boost of 608 new units in Gilo and Ramot follows closely on the heels of publication of a tender for 603 housing units in Ramat Shlomo one week ago; and advancement of a spate of plans in Pisgat Ze'ev, for 1,064 housing units, two months ago."
Meanwhile, in addition to "large-scale construction plans" in East Jerusalem settlements, "plans are being advanced with increased vigour" in Palestinian neighbourhoods around the Old City.
On 2 September, Jerusalem authorities will "discuss a plan by Israeli entrepreneurs to build a six-story building in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in which at least 75 families face eviction by radical settlers, legally bolstered by the state".
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"This year has seen the promotion of multiple touristic settlement plans in around the Old City," says Ir Amim, projects in which the Israeli government is "investing hundreds of millions of shekels", and adding "to an expanding ring of settler-run tourist sites around the area known to the government and settler movement as the 'Holy-' or 'Historic Basin'".