Israel planning 176 new settlement units in the heart of East Jerusalem

PNN/ Jerusalem/

The Jerusalem Planning and Building committee is to approve the construction of 176 settlement units in Jabal Al-Mukaber area, east Jerusalem, on Sunday, according to Israeli media.

There are talks about expanding Neveh Zion Settlement outpost, which was established six years ago in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhood of the area, which currently has 91 settlement units.

While the largest settlement outpost in Jerusalem which is “Ma’ale Hazeitim” where 200 settler families live.

The application for starting the settlement construction at Jabel Mukaber was submitted by an Israeli company which is owned by several foreign companies registered in Australia, the Cayman Islands and the United States.

According to Peace Now leftist Israeli movement, Jewish-Australian businessman Kevin Bremeister is behind this company and the Israeli businessman Rami Levy has 15 percent of the company’s shares.

Peace Now also stated that “building a large settlement in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood would make the situation in Jerusalem more problematic, and it will make the two-state solution harder to reach as the government seems to have opened all possibilities for the expansion of settlement projects in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem”.

The movement added that “The previous outline of the project in (Neve Tzion) proved the faulty of the allegation which said that the deal is only a real estate deal.

“The Israelis are not interested in buying homes in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhoods. The only ones who do this are those motivated by ideology. There is no economic or real estate issue, but only a political attempt to prevent solving the problem in Jerusalem”.

According to Haaretz, the contractor Rahim Levy had purchased the land on which the settlement will be built in the 1970s. Degel company, which built the project, faced financial difficulties because it failed to market the project because it is very close to the Palestinian neighborhood. During the sale of the project, Palestinian businessman Bashir al-Masri tried to buy the land, but right-wing parties managed to buy it with the help of Bermeister, who is very active in helping right-wing Israeli organizations in East Jerusalem.

The construction plan at Naveh Zion is to be approved while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way to a 10-day political visit to Latin America, then to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly, where he is also expected to meet on with US President Donald Trump to discuss the US plan for reviving peace initiative.

Thus since Netanyahu will be outside the country,  the meeting of the Supreme Committee of the Civil Administration was postponed, which was supposed to approve the financing building thousands of new settlement units in West Bank. At the request of Netanyahu’s office, the committee will hold its meeting at the end of September or early October only, after the return of the president of the PLO.

Netanyahu’s office also postponed and canceled many building plans, fearing criticism from the United States and other countries.