“Har Homa Settlement” Between 1997 and 2007

“Har Homa Settlement” Between 1997 and 2007


Har Homa (known to Palestinians 'Abu Ghneim Mountain') is an Illegal Israeli settlement located less than two kilometers north of the city of Bethlehem. The Israeli settlement has been built on the Palestinian-owned lands of Abu Ghneim Mountain which is historically owned by the Palestinian residents of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, as well as the villages of Um Tuba and Sur Baher. When Israel occupied East Jerusalem along with the West bank in 1967, it adopted Illegal step to redefine the boundary of East Jerusalem city in a unilateral matter. The new illegal Israeli boundary included Abu Ghneim Mountain, as it was taken o out of Bethlehem boundary.


From that time on, the Israel maintained 'Green Area' classification to the area of the mountain, and denied Palestinians any rights there. However, when the Israeli completed the confiscation procedures of the mountain, they reclassified it to a building zone. Hence, the plan to establish “Har Homa” settlement started at that time. The construction work on the new settlement did not start until 1997 that is when the Israeli bulldozers started to move to the mountain area, chop down the trees, and eliminate the ecosystem there in order to lay down the foundation for the new settlement, which is set to include 3500 housing units to accommodate some 30,000 Israeli settler. See Map 1  


Map 1: Map of Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) Settlement


Ten Years of Illegal Expansion

Israel, and despite the International condemnation to its illegal settlements activities, continue to build and expand settlements, building thousands of housing units since the year 2000 and issue tenders for thousands more. Har Homa settlement is one location that witnessed immense expansion during the last decade and still does, even after the call in the US proposed road map to halt all settlements activities including natural growth. Pictures below show the intensified Israeli constructions in Har Homa settlement during a certain period.


An analysis performed by the Geo-Informatics Department at the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ) shows an intense construction activity in Har Homa settlement. Between the years 2003 and 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Housing in corporation with the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem declared 6 tenders to build an additional 2536 new illegal housing units in Har Homa settlement. More than that, satellite images show that all constructions in Israeli in settlements are happening in those included by the Segregation Wall, in the area between the Wall and the 1949 Armistice Line. See Map 2 Table 1


Map 2: Map of Har Homa Settlement with the proposed future expansions



Table of the Israeli tenders to build the housing units in the settlement


Date of declaration

No. the Housing Units






















Source: ARIJ Monthly Report



Moreover, the 'Master plan Jerusalem 2000' shows concentration in development plans in Israeli dominated areas in East Jerusalem and within the Israeli Declared boundary of the city. This includes Har Homa settlements where two neighborhoods – sectors are planned to construct, the first of which to be located southeast of existing Har Homa, and the other to its northwest. The current standing Har Homa settlement sets on 2205 Dunums, which includes 400+ Dunums built-up area. The two new neighborhoods will set on an additional area of 1080 Dunums. All together, Har Homa and the new planned settlement’s neighborhoods will set on 3285 Dunums.


Legal & International Status

Ten years after Har Homa (Abu Ghneim), since the construction in of Har Homa started and it never stopped once despite wide criticism. Israel continues with its policy: forcing facts on the ground, and now is consolidating such policy with the Segregation Wall in the West Bank and around Jerusalem in particular.  


The  existence of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and their expansions are Illegal and contradicts with the international law rules, United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as 237 (1967), 271 (1969), 446 (1979),  452 (1979) ,465 (1980), 681 (1990), and 799 (1992).


Resolution 446 March 22, 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories'


Also the resolution 452 of the 1979 “calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.”


Furthermore the Forth Geneva Convention also states in Article 49 that 'The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.' and Article 174 of the same convention “prohibits the 'extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.'


Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) Illegal Israeli settlement since the year 1997 until now





Prepared by 
The Applied Reserach Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlements