Gilo’s plan of Expansion: 260 new housing units …!

Gilo’s plan of Expansion: 260 new housing units …!

In the year 1970 the Israeli government confiscated 2,700 dunums from Beit Jala town, Beit Safafa, and Sharafat villages located at the northern side of Bethlehem District. The majority of these lands are belonging to families living in Beit Jala. In 1971, the Israeli bulldozers started to construct Gilo settlement, and Since then Gilo settlement has gone under an intensive urbanization process. Today, the area of this settlement is 3700 dunums and has around 31,000 settlers. See Ariel Photo

After the 1967 Six-days war, Israel started to change and expand Jerusalem's boundaries by annexing more lands from Bethlehem district as in the case of Gilo settlement and from East Jerusalem. The Israeli government is trying to expand this settlement in area and population in order to limit the geographical contiguity among Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem and of any Palestinian urban expansion from Bethlehem. In fact, there is a creation of discontinuity between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem in addition to increasing number of Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem. See Map 1


On the 15th of November 2002, the Israeli weekly newspaper ''Kol Ha'ir'' mentioned that there is an Israeli plan to expand Gilo settlement by constructing 260 new housing units, the plan however is still in its primary stages. The lands on which those housing units will be constructed are within the West Bank boundaries. See Map 2

Joseph Allo a municipal council member from the Israeli political party of Meretz said:  '' This plan is provoking the relations between Arabs and Jews inside the city and add unneeded tension at the moment''. Allo also asked Jerusalem's mayor Ehud Olmert to freeze the treatment of this project until having more details about its aspects and effects.

Israeli plans to expand annexed settlements to Jerusalem, is not only for Gilo, but also for other settlements such as Ma'ale Adumim settlement to apply what is called the E1 plan. The plan is to increase the number of Israelis inside and around East Jerusalem with anticipation to create a demographic change, whereby the majority of citizens in East Jerusalem would be Israeli Jews. The Israeli vision is to house around one million Jewish inhabitants in Jerusalem by the year 2015 in order to implement the Israeli plan of  ''Metropolitan Jerusalem''.


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Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlement Expansion