“New Israeli Colonial Plan Threatening the Two State Solution”
New Neighborhood in Giv’at Hamatos settlement south of Jerusalem

“New Israeli Colonial Plan Threatening the Two State Solution” <br> New Neighborhood in Giv’at Hamatos settlement south of Jerusalem


For the first time since Har Homa settlement was established in the year 1997 during the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term, a new plan is revealed to build a large settlement south of occupied East Jerusalem; also during Netanyahu’s “second” term in office; it is called Giv’at Hamatos “neighborhood” located on expropriated Palestinians’ lands from Beit Safafa.
The new plan which holds No. 14295 had been deposited for public review on October 11, 2011 by the Local Planning Committee at the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem upon a submit made by the “Israel Land Authority” for the construction of 2,610 housing units on 1,060 dunums of lands, most of which are owned by the residents of Beit Safafa neighborhood who in their term had their rights to utilize their lands stripped away from them with all the bureaucracy and regulations imposed upon them by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to disqualify Palestinians from using their lands.
According to the Israeli authority’s procedures and measures for building, once the construction plan is deposited there is a 60 days grace period for public review, and objections on the plan, after which the objections would be deliberated and then the plan would be approved by the Local Planning Committee, which means that the construction may commence at any time. See the proposed building plan map:

Building Plan Scheme
It is worth mentioning that Giv’at Hamatos was established as an Illegal outpost in 1991 when the Israeli government installed mobile homes for immigrants from Ethiopia at the site, but the Israeli actual steps toward legalizing the outpost and transferring it to a settlement were in the year 2008 when a plan to build 2,337 housing units was approved (plan No.5384A), and in January and February of 2010  an additional plans (No.5834 B and No.5938 C) were approved for an additional 549 and 813 housing respectively, while an additional plan (No.5934 D) of 1100 hotel rooms is pending approval. 
Undermining the Status of Two State Solution
The Giv’at Hamatos plan is part of an Israeli attempts to impose its dominance over the Eastern parts of the city of Jerusalem while creating a settlement belt including the expansion of Gilo and Har Homa settlements at Jerusalem’s south side, Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramat Shlomo settlements in the north, Ma’ale Adumim settlement and E1 area to the northwest, upon which occupied East Jerusalem would be geographically isolated from the rest of the West Bank area and the geographical contiguity of the West Bank will no longer be possible; jeopardizing the future Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.
It should be noted that this Israeli Plan received a go within few days after the Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu spearheaded a special committee to explore ways to legalize 134 settlements built on private Palestinian lands, a step that contradicts the Israeli obligations and commitments toward the peace process and the Road Map plan proposed in May 2003 by the USA and the Quartet in which Israel was to freeze all the settlements’ activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and dismantle all of the Illegal outposts erected after March 31, 2003 .
The current Israeli right wing government headed by Netanyahu is moving steadily toward unilaterally imposing facts on the ground where the chances to conclude a just and lasting peace agreement based on two state solution became threatened and is thinning by the day.
The existence of the Israeli settlements and outpost in the oPt are deemed Illegal by the international community and laws, which calls upon Israeli to freeze any activities in them and even to dismantle them as the constitute obstacles to peace; however, Israel acts in apathy to that and continue with persistence to build and expand the settlements and outposts when Israeli should be dismantling outposts and initiating steps to evacuate the settlements to pave the way for constructive negotiations that leads to a just and lasting peace agreements between the Palestinians and the Israelis based on the principle of two state solution.
  • UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967): calls for the withdrawal of all Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in 1967 war. This means that the Israeli occupation of the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem is illegal and therefore all of the settlement activities conducted by the Israeli occupation in the city are Illegal.
  • Article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement 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”.
  • Moreover the Forth Geneva Convention of 1949 also states in Article 49 that “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”
  • 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 1979calls 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.”
  • 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).
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Categories: Settlement Expansion