Israeli Housing Ministry filed request on 9 February to build 9,000 settlement units in occupied Jerusalem, on land marked as Palestinian in US deal of the century, Israeli report revealed.
If approved, Israeli NGO Peace Now said, the settlement units will be built on land between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Kafr ‘Aqab, Qalandiya and Al Ram in the occupied Jerusalem, and on the site of the Atarot Airport, which has been out of use since the Second Intifada in 2000.
According to the Trump plan, Israel would maintain control over Atarot and all other neighbourhoods in occupied Jerusalem west of the Separation Wall, but the self-declared Jewish state “should allow for the development by the State of Palestine of a special tourism zone in Atarot”.
The plan states that the Atarot “tourist zone” is intended to encourage Muslim tourism to Jerusalem through “state-of-the-art public transportation that provides easy access to and from the holy sites”.
Peace Now said that “the planned settlement neighbourhood drives a wedge in the heart of the Palestinian urban continuity between Ramallah and occupied Jerusalem,” and precludes “the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.”
This is not the first report of a possible settlement in the Atarot area. After the Israeli Ministry of Housing declared an intent to establish approximately 10,000 settlement units in the area, as early as December 2015, the ministry allocated $7.6 million for construction.
Details of the settlement plan emerged after the Israeli Transport Ministry approved plans for a train line between Ben-Gurion Airport and the occupied old city of Jerusalem.
More than 800,000 Jewish settlers already live in settlements, considered illegal under international law, in the occupied West Bank.
Palestine Post 24