Tue 05 Dec 2023 1:50 pm - Jerusalem Time
Israeli NGO: Israel is exploiting the Gaza war to build a settlement in East Jerusalem
On Tuesday, an Israeli left-wing organization accused the authorities of exploiting the war in the Gaza Strip to build the first new settlement in East Jerusalem since 2012, warning of the repercussions of this on the political future of Jerusalem.
The "Ir Amim" organization (a non-governmental organization) stated in a statement that the "lower canal" will be the first completely new settlement established on the lands of East Jerusalem since 2012.
The past years have witnessed a massive expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem.
Ir Amim, which specializes in East Jerusalem issues, said: “The Israeli authorities announced on Monday their approval of the lower canal plan to build 1,792 housing units” on the lands of the town of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem.
It noted that this "constitutes the first large new settlement plan to be fully approved in East Jerusalem since the Givat Hamatos settlement in 2012."
According to the organization: “The plan calls for the construction of approximately 1,792 housing units on approximately 186 dunams of land adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood of Umm Tuba, located between the current Har Homa settlement and the planned Givat Hamatos settlement south of East Jerusalem.”
It continued: "It is clear that the Israeli government is exploiting the ongoing war (in the Gaza Strip) to impose more facts on the ground."
"Ir Amim" considered that "this plan carries serious repercussions on the political future of Jerusalem, and if it is constructed, it will expand the wedge of Israeli settlement along the southern border of East Jerusalem, which will increase the effect of isolating East Jerusalem from the south of the West Bank."
“Beyond its geopolitical ramifications, the progress of this plan highlights the systemic discrimination embedded in Israeli planning and construction policy in Jerusalem,” it said.
It explained, "Since the beginning of 2023, more than 18,500 housing units have been provided to new or existing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, while residential development for Palestinians has been neglected even though they constitute nearly 40 percent of Jerusalem's population."
The organization continued, "The year 2023 is scheduled to join 2022 to be the years that witness the largest number of settlement units provided in the past decade in East Jerusalem."
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, and the United Nations does not recognize its sovereignty over it, and demands that it withdraw from it, not to mention that the construction of Israeli settlements on its lands is considered illegal.