Jerusalem24 – Since the beginning of 2022 the Israeli government has launched a number of settlement projects around Jerusalem that cross the Green Line (1967 armistice line) into Palestinian territory.
The latest announcement came on Tuesday when three settlement projects were approved south of occupied East Jerusalem on both sides of the Green Line. The projects will contain 1,698 new settlement units in three different areas in West Jerusalem that stretch into the West Bank, which will effectively cut Bethlehem off from occupied East Jerusalem. The project will will connect to the “Kfar Etzion” settlement. The settlement projects in occupied Jerusalem and its surroundings will swallow around 11% of the occupied West Bank.
According to the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds, the Israeli authorities and the Cartography Center both have refused Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to obtain a map of the Green Line.
The Cartography Center justified systematic FOI rejections over the last ten years by saying that the path the Green Line follows is not public knowledge because of fears it might affect Israel’s relations with other states. As such, it falls underneath article 9A of the Freedom of Information Act.
While the path of the Green Line is available in Jordan as a party to the 1967 cease-fire, the Israeli Cartography Center decision shows an Israeli policy that was taken months after June 1967.
The current settlement projects by the Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee show that Israel is erasing the Green Line on the ground, as the most recent settlement plans ignore the existence of the Green Line. Beginning at the heart of West Jerusalem, the new plan heads towards Al-Walaja as an expansion to the settlement of Kiryat Hayoval in the southern West Bank, connecting it to 730 new settlement units.
The first project, within Jerusalem itself, includes 116 settlement units in a 20-storey tower in place of older buildings that will be demolished and replaced with a bridge. Another similar building will follow suit.
The second project will include 612 settlement units that will be contained in five 10-storey buildings. Five other older buildings will be demolished to make way for the light rail that is to be built south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It will also include 700 meters of stores and other infrastructure. Three more dunums are slated for the construction of a school.
The third project will be developed on the lands of Sur Baher and the industrial zone of Tal Biyout towards south Jerusalem. It will include 240 residential units in five 10-storey buildings, in addition to a tower of 30 storeys. The plan includes several kindergatens and two temples.
This particular project will be secured by a barrier and guards due to its proximity to Sur Baher and Umm Tuba.