Israel to Approve Construction of 436 Settler Units in Jerusalem

TEL AVIV, November 17, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli government is planning to issue tenders for the construction of 436 new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem, according to Israeli daily Jerusalem Post.

It said the municipality also wants to advance plans for the construction of 1,000 new housing units in the said settlement.

In November 9, Israel’s planning committee for construction in the West Bank approved the construction of about 2,200 new housing units in Ma’aleh Michmash settlement complex, east of Ramallah, in addition to a plan to erect two settlement outposts in the area.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said the move was to preempt legal action by Palestinians and rights groups to evacuate the sites.

Under the plan, by 2030 there will be 800 homes in Ma’aleh Michmash, which serves as the central land reserve in the region, while 300 more homes will be added to Kochav Hashahar.

The plan also seeks to regularize the Mitzpeh Danny and Neveh Erez outposts, in addition to tourism sites and an education complex.

To be noted, settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory and the Golan Heights, both occupied since 1967, are considered illegal under international law.

The settler population in the West Bank is estimated at 531,000: in late 2012 the population of the West Bank settlements was 341,400; in late 2011 there were 190,423 individuals living in Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.

Numerous UN resolutions have stated that the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979 and 1980.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was previously quoted by media as stating that,  “We will continue to build in Jerusalem. We will add thousands of residential units and withstand all the [international] pressure, as we continue to develop our eternal capital.”

B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group said, “The settlements have been allocated vast areas, far exceeding their built-up sections. These areas have been declared closed military zones by military orders and are off limits to Palestinians, except by special permit. In contrast, Israeli citizens, Jews from anywhere in the world and tourists may all freely enter these areas.”