Bethlehem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report , that Israeli District Planning and Construction Committee in Jerusalem approved a plan to build 730 settlement units in the “Psgat Ze’ev settlement” that was built on the Beit-Hanina lands, in addition to a plan that includes 21,000m2 for trade and employment, and 41,000m2 for public buildings, as well as, 16 dunams of open space. Another plan of 17 donums on Jaffa Street was also approved to build 850 housing units in 4 towers consisting of 40 floors, of which 170 were allocated for small apartments and long-term rentals, 14,350m2 for hotels, 58,500m2 for offices, and 6,600m2 for trade.
As for the third plan, it will be implemented in “Kiryat Yearim” by constructing 2 complexes on a total area of 18 dunums that include 210 housing units in 9 buildings, and 6000m2 allocated for public buildings, a large school and a synagogue, about 3660m2 for trade and employment, and 4.5 donums open public areas, including a public garden of about 3 donum .
For its part, the occupation municipality and the Ministry of Infrastructure revealed a plan to expand settlements to the south of the occupied Jerusalem, linking them to the “Kfar Etzion Bloc” in the southern West Bank, and connecting it with the water and sewage system, and the network of roads and tunnels that have been built for more than 2 years. The plan, which was approved in the first reading, and settlement neighborhoods were added to it, includes about 4,639 settlement units during the next 5 years, and they are concentrated in the southern axis adjacent to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.
The occupation government also signed an agreement to establish a huge Judaization center on the Mount of Olive – At-Tur. The signing of the agreement came after a decade of intense activity, which included discussions and promotion of programs and plans to implement the construction of a visitor’s center and an information center there. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Israeli Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin, and the Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, in addition to the head of the International Committee for the Protection of the Mount of Olives (a Jewish organization operating abroad) Menachem Lubinsky.
The building will include an information center that talks about “Jews buried in the mountain over thousands of years of Jewish history,” according to the occupation government’s allegations. The center will also include a synagogue, a training center, libraries and ticket shops, an auditorium, a map and cemetery research institute, and monitoring center.
Minister, Elkin commented on the signing of the agreement by saying, “The connection with Jerusalem begins here on the Mount of Olives. We will invest great resources in developing the Mount of Olives, whether as a tourist anchor or to improve security.” For his part, Lubinsky revealed that the idea of building on the Mount of Olives came to stop the Arab invasion of the Mount. On Feb. 20th, the Hebrew newspaper “Times of Israel” revealed the Israeli government’s willingness to move forward with a settlement plan, which it described as unprecedented and given the number 101-674788 that would expand the borders of a park called “Jerusalem National Walls” to include a part of it.
A large part of the Mount of Olives overlooks the Old City of the occupied Jerusalem, along with other additional parts of the area, at the expense of lands owned by the Church, and is considered one of the holy places for Christians.
In Jerusalem, Israeli companies also started construction works on large areas to implement the “Al-Buraq Elevator” Judaization project that includes the construction of two contiguous vertical elevators with a height of 26 meters, as well as the construction of an underground tunnel with a length of 70 meters and a 14m width between Al-Sharaf neighborhood in the old city and Al-Buraq Square, adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the pretext of facilitating the movement of settlers and tourists.
On the other hand, the Israeli Peace Movement issued a recent calling for the need to put an end to the settlers’ attacks, and not to interfere with the extreme right-wing political elite, which has a solid core in the Israeli Knesset. The report said that the hardcore of the military arm in the illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank is supported by a political arm in the Knesset and by certain well-known personalities, who support activities targeting defenseless Palestinians.
The map of points of violence indicates a direct relationship between the establishment and expansion of illegal settlement outposts, and the acts of violence by settlers and that over the years more and more dangerous attacks have been witnessed, where red lines have been crossed, and that those outposts meet with governmental political plans aimed at expanding settlement projects and seizing more Palestinian lands.
These outposts are partially inhibited by extremist settlers and are characterized by a continuous effort to expand them and seize more and more lands to achieve these goals.