Israeli expansion activities in the vicinity of Har Gilo Settlement

Israeli expansion activities in the vicinity of Har Gilo Settlement

It seems that Israel has no intention whatsoever to freeze the settlements' construction in the occupied territory, in fact construction in the West Bank settlements, with particular emphasis in those settlements that are set to be included within the Israeli 'Greater Jerusalem' plan, discarding at the same time the signed agreements and recommendation made by different international bodies; including the US and the Quartet to halt settlements construction in occupied Palestinian territory.


In Har Gilo

Phase one: 286 housing units Completed

In August 2004, the Israeli Lands Authority (ILA) approved building plans for Har Gilo settlement that included 200 housing units, the approval came to launch phase one of the overall plan set by to build 1084 new duplex apartments in the settlement. Accordingly, the need for more land became a priority and thus more Palestinian lands were confiscated. In April 2005, phase one is sanctioned in Har Gilo and construction went underway except that the site plan was prepared to hold 286 duplex apartments in the designated construction site instead of the approved 200.


Phase Two: 480 housing units to launch soon

As the construction of phase one is almost completed, preparations are already underway to instigate phase two of the construction plan, which will include 480 duplex apartments. Contractors has started some time ago to prepare the site designated for the second phase and lay down basic infrastructure before they commence the construction, which is set to for completion by 2012. More than that phase three of the plan which is to include 318 duplex apartments will start while the construction on phase two is undergoing. See Map 1


Har Gilo is an Israeli settlement built in 1972 on lands belongs to the Palestinian town Beit Jala and Al-Walajeh village (located west of Bethlehem). In 2003, the Israeli settlement spreads on 271 Dunums confiscated from Beit Jala and accommodated approximately 450 Israeli settlers. In November 2000, expansion plans for Har Gilo were set to expand the settlement's area and build-up area, but it wasn't until 2004, right about the time when the approval for the new building plans were approved; until the settlers' with the support of the Israeli Army fenced in 143 Dunums; bringing the total area of the settlement to 414 Dunums. However, and with the Segregation Wall route in the vicinity of Har Gilo settlement (currently under construction) an additional area of 95 Dunums will consequentially became part of the settlement's area.


Israel is aiming to reinforce settlement belt along Jerusalem's southern borders and continue to tilt the demographic balance in favor of the Israelis and at the same time restricting near by Palestinian towns from expanding by cutting them of away from their natural expanding territorial areas.


Since the Israeli disengagement charade in 2005, Israel chose to swell the constructions in Israeli settlements in the West bank territory, particularly in settlements in and around Jerusalem area. However, Israel's so-called disengagement charade was not the only reason that motivated Israel to invigorate its construction policy in the West Bank settlements, but also the fact that Israel has received non-direct consent from the US; approving Israel's expansion policy of existing settlements to accommodate the so-called natural growth despite the fact that such expansion comes in contradiction with the US-backed roadmap peace plan, which calls for a freeze of all settlements' activities. The US Road-Map has made virtually no progress since it was lunched in 2003, but remains stuck between the Palestinian and the Israeli accusing each other's for sabotaging the peace process.




Prepared by 
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlement Expansion