Israel approves more settlement construction in East Jerusalem Settlements

Israel approves more settlement construction in East Jerusalem Settlements
On March 10, 2010 and one day after the arrival of the US Vice President Joe Biden to Israel and the Palestinian Territory in an attempt to resume the peace talks, the Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yeshai   had approved a plan to build a new 1600 housing units in the Illegal Israeli settlement of Ramat Shlomo located between the Illegal settlement of Ramot and Shu’fat neighborhood in the Eastern Part of the City of Jerusalem. The plan includes the building of 1600 settlers’ apartments, 120m2-each, on 580 dunums of land. See Map 1

Map 1: Ramat Shlomo Settlement between 2006 & 2009
Moreover, earlier on March 8, 2010, the Israeli Committee for Planning and Construction approved a new plan to build 112 new housing units in the Illegal Israeli settlement of Bitar ‘Ilit in Gush Etzion settlement bloc west of Bethlehem Governorate.
On March 11, 2010, the Israeli daily newspaper “Haaretz”, revealed that there are a plans to build some 50,000 housing units in the Illegal Israeli settlements of Jerusalem, and these plans are in various stages of planning and approval form the related Israeli authorities. The Newspaper indicated that the plans for some 20,000 of the apartments are already in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder have yet to be submitted to the planning committees.
The newspaper provided that the construction plans in advanced stages of approval are for Gilo settlement (3,000 housing units), Har Homa settlement (1,500), Pisgat Ze’ev settlement (1,500), Givat Hamatos settlement(3,500), Ramot settlement (1,200), Armon Hanetziv settlement (600) and Neveh Yakov settlement (450). See Map 2
Map 2: Israeli Settlements in and around Jerusalem
It is worth mentioning that the timing of the declaration of the new building plans in the Illegal Israeli settlements especially those in Jerusalem is no coincidence, but on the contrary they choose the time of US Vice President visit to Israel  in order to topple his administrative efforts to resume the negotiations between them and the Palestinian Authority.
Legal & International Status
It become clear that Israel is not interested in pushing the peace negotiation with the Palestinians, but more than that it is imposing facts on the ground by expanding the Illegal settlements and demolishing the Palestinian houses and seizing their lands, in addition to continuing the construction of the Apartheid Wall which looted hundreds of thousands of dunums of the Palestinian-owned lands, and all of this practices mainly aim to terminate any opportunity for reaching just and durable peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The  existence of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem 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.
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 and in May 2001, the head of the International Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories said that settlements are ‘equal in principle to war crimes’. (Note: ‘The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a ‘grave breach.’ It’s a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes’, Rene Kosirnik, head of the ICRC delegation to Israel and the OPT, press conference 17 May 2001.)
Article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement indicates that Israelis forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The article provides “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”.

Categories: Settlement Expansion