Jerusalem24 – The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported today, that the Jerusalem Municipality of the Israeli authorities is implementing a plan to build a new settlement.
The plan is to happen in coordination with the General Custodian of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. While the settlement will be constructed South of occupied Jerusalem.
According to the newspaper, the settlement will be built near the Palestinian community of Beit Safafa; which is suffering from a shortage of lands for construction.
The plan is based on a program that was originally aimed at helping Palestinians in East Jerusalem register their properties. However, that same move is being used by settlers in Sheikh Jarrah and to establish the aforementioned new settlement.
The Israeli Local Committee for Planning and Building in Jerusalem will discuss the establishment of the settlement, named Givat Hashakid. It is scheduled to be built on an open area of 38 dunums (over 9 acres) of land.
It will be built above what is known as Nahal Refaim, Hemsila Park, David Benvenisti Street and the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa.
The settlement will include 473 housing units, an elementary school, synagogues and kindergartens as well.
According to the newspaper, the official responsible for the plan is the General Custodian of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. The General Custodian is authorized by law to manage private assets whose owners are “unknown.”
The Israeli Ministry of Justice said that the settlement aims to improve the real estate situation, while the newspaper indicates it will be built a few meters away from the Palestinian community of Beit Safafa.
Documents show that the new settlement will be separated from the surrounding area.
Beit Safafa like other Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem, suffers from a shortage of lands for construction. In recent years the residents struggled to be allowed to build on the edge of their community.
Any plans to expand have been frozen, while Israeli settlers are allowed to build entire communities. Settlement construction plans were held in the area by Netanyahu’s government in 2016 after caving into pressure from the US administration of Barack Obama.
However, in the last days of Donald Trump’s era, Israeli construction was allowed there again.
Ali Ayyoub, the head of the Beit Safafa neighborhood administration says, “we were very surprised by the plan for the new settlement despite receiving promises from the mayor of Jerusalem to have lands for us to build on.”
While the plans submitted to the construction committee do not show the definition of the neighborhood as being “Jewish” for settlers. However, Aviv Tatarsky a researcher at the Israeli Human Rights organization Ir Amim Association said that, “there are no doubts about the identity of the new neighborhood as it is separated from the surrounding area and contains buildings for two Jewish synagogues.”
He added, “this in a year that saw record-breaking home demolitions in East Jerusalem as a result of of a discriminatory planning policy.”