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Israel advances plans for 3,557 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem

A general view over a part of the Jewish East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo on November 16, 2020 in Jerusalem [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
A general view over a part of the Jewish East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo on November 16, 2020 in Jerusalem [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

The local committee for planning and construction of the Jerusalem Municipality yesterday approved plans for building 3,557 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem, Peace Now revealed yesterday.

According to the Israeli NGO which monitors settlement activities, the construction of the new units forms part of five plans.

"One plan is between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, and the other plans are on the edge of French Hill towards Mount Scopus," Peace Now said.

It added: "All of the plans are bad news for the stability of Jerusalem and for the chances for peace, but the most harmful plan in terms of the possibility to reach two states, is the plan known as the 'lower aqueduct plan'."

This plan is located south of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel near Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, and it includes building a new settlement with 1,465 settlement units.

According to Peace Now, the new settlement "is intended to connect the settlement of Har Homa with Givat Hamatos and complete the Israeli southern ring that will block the potential Palestinian continuum between the Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem."

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The Local Committee of the Jerusalem Municipality, Peace Now says, has no authority to approve the plan but can recommend it to the District Committee.

However, on 17 January 2022, the plans are going to be discussed by the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee.

"The District Committee has the authority to approve the plans and once they pass the approval for the deposit, the statutory planning process begins, which usually takes about a year or two," Peace Now said.

"After the approval of the District Committee, it is much more difficult to stop the plans."

Since 1967, the Israeli government initiated and planned approximately 56,000 settlement units for Israelis in occupied Jerusalem, while Palestinians have been granted permission to build only 600 units in the 1970s, the Israeli NGO said.

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