In light of the US green light and its unlimited support for Israel, especially after electing Donald Trump, the Israeli government has doubled the number of approved housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in addition to tabling plans to annex large West Bank settlement blocs.
A new reality is being imposed on the ground by the Israeli occupation authority (IOA), making use of the political tribulations in the region, in addition to the unlimited support from western powers.
The 2020 Plan
The Jerusalem 2020 is perhaps the secret answer to what seems to be an acceleration of settlement construction and the IOA decision to boost it. This notion was upheld by expert Khalil al-Tafakji, a well-known expert on settlements and lands, in an interview with the PIC.
Tafakji has explained that the IOA announcement of authorizing hundreds of housing units in East Jerusalem on Sunday (23 January) is part of a plan and a program set in advance, and it was just waiting to be amended and approved by the competent Israeli authorities, depending on the political situation in Israel itself and the region and the world at large.
He added, “All construction plans contribute to one strategic plan which aims to build 56,000 housing units in East Jerusalem as part of the Jerusalem 2020 plan.”
As Donald Trump began his term as president for the United States, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem approved the plan to build hundreds of housing units in various Jerusalem settlements, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he has lifted what he called restrictions on building in the West Bank and Jerusalem settlements, affirming that Israel will soon annex large West Bank settlement blocs, referring to the Ma’ali Adumim settlement in particular.
The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian government said that such steps crossed all red lines, and called on the international community to bear its responsibilities following such decisions that entail dangerous consequences and make the two-state solution impossible to achieve.
Tafakji noted that these Israeli plans and decisions aim at expanding existing settlements in line with the strategic goals that target annexing East Jerusalem. He listed them as follows:
– The settlement of Ramat Shlomo built on the lands of Shufaat and Beit Hanina with a total of 1,500 housing units, 300 of which will be built in the coming period.
– The settlement of Ramout built on the lands of Lifta and it will include building 750 housing units in two stages.
– The settlement of Givat Hamatos built on the lands of Khirbit Tabalia and it includes building 2,600 housing units in five stages.
– The settlement of Givat Yael, which includes building 5,000 housing units in various stages on the lands of Walaja, according to plan discussed, amended and approved in 2016.
– The Israeli plan also includes expanding the settlement of Gilo and Jabal Abughunaim, with a total of 1,890 housing units in the coming three years.
The Israeli cabinet was supposed to discuss a plan on Sunday 22/1/2017 to impose Israeli sovereignty over settlement blocs surrounding Jerusalem, including large settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, and Beitar Illit. Yet, at the request of the advisers of the US president Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister has put off the plan until after he meets with Trump in two weeks.
(Source / 25.01.2017)