Since the beginning of the year 2021, Jerusalem has witnessed an acceleration in settlement projects and expansion plans at the expense of the Palestinian lands, in a dangerous effort to impose a painful reality on the ground, and to surround the city with a large settlement security belt.
The most recent of these was the Israeli occupation municipality’s plan in Jerusalem to expand the settlement of "Pisgat Ze'ev" north-east of the city, by building 930 new settlement units, in clear violation of all UN resolutions and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Israeli Ministry of Interior approved amendments and additions to the project submitted by the occupation municipality, to build settlement units, as part of a plan to expand the settlement built on the lands of Beit Hanina and Shuafat, and part of Hizma and Anata, with a budget estimated at 400 million shekels.
The Pisgat Ze'ev settlement is considered one of the largest settlement blocs in East Jerusalem, with a population of about 55 thousand, and it is built on Palestinian land occupied since 1967.
During the past years, the occupation authorities have made major expansions on the settlement, in order to separate the city of Jerusalem from several surrounding villages.
Since the beginning of the year, the occupation municipality began working on two parallel lines. The first is to accelerate the demolition of Palestinian homes.
The second is to accelerate dozens of settlement projects to expand settlements north and south of Jerusalem, and to promote a new strategic plan to strengthen the settlements of Pisgat Ze'ev, Ramat Shlomo in the north of the city, and Gilo and Givat Hamatos in the south.
The expert in Jerusalem affairs, Fakhri Abu Diab, reported to Safa that the District Planning and Building Committee in the occupation municipality approved a plan to expand the largest settlements in Jerusalem, which is Pisgat Ze'ev, and to add amendments to it, to establish 930 settlement units on confiscated Palestinian land previously.
Abu Diab added that "the occupation aims to surround Jerusalem and its town with settlements and settlers, to reinforce the Jewish settlement presence in the Holy City, and to control it completely."
"The occupation drew a map of settlement around Jerusalem, to achieve its efforts aimed at bringing more than a million settlers to live in the east of the city," he added.
Bringing in this number of settlers needs to build more settlement units, and the settlement’s expansion includes establishing recreational places, health, educational and commercial centers, clubs, sports stadiums, hotels, cafes, etc., to facilitate their access to the city center, according to Abu Diab.
The plan includes the construction of a network of transportation and a light train to connect the north of Pisgat Ze'ev with the central station, west of the city.
In addition, he affirmed that "the occupation is trying to impose new reality on the ground, challenging the ICC, the American administration and its policies, and all international resolutions."
The plan, led by the mayor of the occupation, Moshe Lion, included "developing public space, community life, education, sports, culture, and entertainment, as well as implementing advanced transportation solutions and reform to boost local businesses in the settlement."
Lion assured that "the red line for the light rail will be larged, and the line will connect north of Pisgat Ze'ev to the central station on Jaffa Street, west of Jerusalem, and work will begin in the coming months to extend the railways north of the settlement."
The settlement projects, said Abu Diab, would significantly change Jerusalem and its Islamic identity, and prevent any geographic expansion or possibility of connection between Jerusalem and the West Bank, and thus reduce the number of Palestinians in exchange for an increase in the number of settlers.Source : Safa