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Peace Now: New settlement construction to cut Jerusalem from West Bank

November 16, 2020 at 9:22 am

New buildings in the Israeli settlement in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.[HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli settlement watchdog organisation, Peace Now, reported yesterday that new Israeli settlement construction aims to split occupied East Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank.

Peace Now revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Israel Land Authority yesterday began accepting bids for 1,257 housing units to be built in the settlement of Givat HaMatos.

“Construction in Givat Hamatos will severely hamper the prospect of a two-state solution because it will ultimately block the possibility of territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem,” the watchdog said.

It added: “This move today represents the latest progression since February 2020 when the tender was published for 1,077 units out of the 2,610 Plan T for Givat HaMatos. Between then and today, 180 units were added to the tender.”

“This Netanyahu-Gantz government was established to fight the coronavirus but instead it is taking advantage of the final weeks of the Trump administration in order to set facts on the ground that will be exceedingly hard to undo in order to achieve peace.”

READ: Israel to accelerate settlement building fearing possible freeze by Biden

The organisation said this project could be stopped now. “We hope that those in this government who still have some sense of responsibility for our future will do what they can to cancel the tender before bids are submitted.”

Peace Now pointed out that the money for the infrastructure works started to flow, noting that “soon we might see the bulldozers beginning the works.”

Anadolu reported Israel’s Wallah news website saying that the tender was approved in 2014, but was frozen under international pressure, in particular from the administration of former US President Barack Obama.

Is oil financing Israel's settlement expansion? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is oil financing Israel’s settlement expansion? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]