On October 18, 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Interior published the approval of Mordot Gilo West (Town Plan 13157), for the construction of 797 additional units in Gilo. The plan is located within the expropriation line of 1970, but goes beyond the existing built-up foot-print of Gilo, in the direction of the Palestinian towns of Walajeh and Beit Jala (map). One may anticipate the publication of tenders in the near future.
While there seemed to be a bit of a lull (by no means a freeze) in East Jerusalem settlement activity during August and September, the approval of TP 13157 appears to be a sign that Netanyahu is re-opening the settlement floodgates in East Jerusalem – a development that we have been anticipating/predicting for some time. We knew that Mordot Gilo West would be high on the list of schemes to be approved if those floodgates were re-opened.
This approval is part of the pattern of intense settlement activity on Jerusalem's southern flank, which will in short order make the two-state solution virtually impossible. For details, see our previous report on the imminent demise of the two-state solution in Jerusalem.
It is probably not unfair to link this opening of the settlement floodgates in Jerusalem to the recently-called Israeli early elections and the countdown to Likud primaries, given that pandering to the religious-nationalist right, especially on Jerusalem, is a tried-and-true tactic of Prime Minister Netanyahu and others during such periods. Moreover, it is probably not unfair to link this development to the U.S. elections calendar, with Netanyahu confident that in the run-up to November 6 the Obama Administration won’t dare criticize his actions, especially in Jerusalem.