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Israel committee to discuss settlement expansion 

February 25, 2020 at 11:16 am

A view of construction work for an Israeli settlement in Jerusalem on 4 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli planning committee will discuss settlement expansion plans for occupied East Jerusalem tomorrow, according to updates from settlement watchdog Ir Amim.

Separately, the Israeli Lands Authority yesterday published a tender for the construction of 1,077 housing units in “Givat Hamatos A”, described by Ir Amim as “the first time since the late 1990s” that Israel is constructing a new settlement in East Jerusalem.

According to the NGO, the Jerusalem local planning and building committee “will hold a special session” tomorrow to discuss two plans for a new settlement by the name of “Har Homa E”.

Ir Amim explained that “Har Homa E is intended to be built in the large open area between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos”, and the “area was also known as Har Homa West”.

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The organisation noted that “construction of Har Homa E and Givat Hamatos has been for many years a primary aim of [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s governments.”

“If advanced,” Ir Amim added, “these new settlements will essentially connect the existing Gilo and Har Homa…settlements and create a contiguous Israeli built-up area along the southern perimeter of [occupied] East Jerusalem.”

The new colonies will thus “serve to detach Bethlehem and the south of the West Bank from East Jerusalem while isolating the Palestinian neighbourhood of Beit Safafa”.

“Constituting a long-term strategy of Israeli governments, construction of large settlements is employed as a means to fracture the Palestinian space and unilaterally determine the boundaries of Jerusalem to prevent the future establishment of a Palestinian capital in the city,” Ir Amim added.

According to the group, the timing of these developments “should be seen in the context of his [Netanyahu’s] re-election campaign and against the backdrop of the formal release of the US Peace Plan.”

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