Netanyahu approves start of implementing E1 settlement project

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the start of implementing the (E1) settlement project, east of occupied Jerusalem, to link the settlement of "Ma'ale Adumim" with the city.

The occupation authority is continuously seeking to fully control the E1 area, and to annex it to the so-called "Greater Jerusalem", due to its vital strategic importance, as it is the only area located in the "Jerusalem city borders."

Fakhri Abu Diab, a researcher in Jerusalem affairs, has reported to Safa that "Netanyahu has agreed to start the largest and most dangerous settlement project in the E1 area, which will be implemented in several stages."

Abu Diab has explained that the first phase of the project includes closing the areas of Al-Eizariya, Abu Dis, and Al-Sawahra, east of Jerusalem, with a separation wall, removing the barrier between Jerusalem and the settlement of "Ma'ale Adumim" and placing it near Jericho.

The second phase includes the expelling of the Palestinian Bedouin residents such as the Khan al-Ahmar community and all localities east of the city.

The third stage includes building more settlements and permanently separating the northern-occupied West Bank from its south until the Jordan Valley area.

Moreover, Abu Diab highlighted that the project includes the construction of new settlements that include 4,000 units, tourist and industrial areas, ten hotels, and a large cemetery, spanning an area of ​​12,443 dunums of land confiscated from the villages of Jerusalem.

He underlined that the occupation will expel and displace more than 9,000 residents from the Bedouin communities, and seize thousands of dunams of East Jerusalem in order to expand the settlements in the vicinity of Ma'ale Adumim and annex them to the city.

Netanyahu, according to Abu Diab, seeks to win more extremist settlers' votes during the upcoming Knesset elections, so he is speeding up the implementation of projects that serve settlers and meet their desires for more control over the Palestinian lands.

In addition, he said that the (E1) settlement project represents part of the actual annexation of the West Bank and the establishment of a new status quo on the ground, which is a message to the White House and the new American presidency that "Israel is practicing the annexation process and accelerating settlements, and eliminating the possibility of establishing any future Palestinian state."

The project aims to cut off any geographical contiguity between the north and south of the West Bank, in addition to linking Jerusalem with a number of settlements and imposing a fait accompli on the areas surrounding the city, he added.

Abu Diab emphasized that the implementation of the settlement project would lead to the separation of the streets that the Palestinians use, which would impede the movement of Palestinians, and lead to their crossing long distances.

He pointed out that Israel is challenging the United States, the European Union, the international community, and even the International Criminal Court, saying that the project has met widespread Arab and international opposition and rejection, as well as all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Abu Diab called on Arab and international institutions and the Palestinian Authority to take real and urgent steps to force the occupation government to stop the (E1) project and all settlement activities and to punish it for its crimes against the Palestinians.

The project has been met with wide international objections, as 16 European countries had previously submitted a protest note to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressing their great concern about its establishment, stressing that "building in this sensitive area will undermine the possibility of negotiating a two-state solution and hinder communication with regard to the Palestinian state."

This project constitutes the beginning of the actual annexation of areas (C) and the Jordan Valley, which means ending the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, according to specialists in settlement affairs.

Source : Safa