Today it is impossible to report the events that are unfolding in Jerusalem in anything but the most emphatic terms. The very possibility of a political agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is endangered by the recent and pending developments as never before. Look at the map and do the math: more that 14,000 new units – many in areas of vital important to the viability of the two-state solution – are careening towards implementation. This is no routine surge, or tactical parrying. It is a strategic, decisive thrust in determining Israel's borders unilaterally in a way that by all empirical benchmarks, and in terms of cumulative impact, is unprecedented since 1967.
1. Ramat Shlomo
As has been widely reported in the Israeli and international media, today the Regional Planning Committee gave its final approval to the construction of 1600 new units in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo (Plan 11085, known to many as the Biden plan, since its approval was announced during Vice President Biden’s 2010 visit to Jerusalem – at which time the Netanyahu government assured the world that this was just approval for planning and construction was a long way off in the future).
2. Givat Hamatos
Tomorrow (December 18), the Regional Planning Committee is expected to grant final approval for the expansion of the settlement of Givat Hamatos, located on Jerusalem southern flank. The expected approvals are for 549 new settlement units (Givat Hamatos B -- Plan 5834B) and 813 units (Givat Hamatos C -- Plan 5834C).
As we predicted, Givat Hamatos A (Town Plan 14295) is now officially on the agenda of the December 19 Municipal Planning Committee. It is anticipated that the plan, with its 2610 units, will receive final approval at the meeting. It must be emphasized: this will be a final approval. Tenders and the commencement of construction can be anticipated within a matter of weeks or a few months.
Givat Hamatos may not have the notoriety of E-1 (the deposit of which, and its 3996 units, was approved for public review on December 5) but its impact will be nearly as devastating. For example: the implementation of the Clinton Parameters and the Geneva Accords remains possible today; the implementation of both will no longer be possible after just the construction of even this first stage of Givat Hamatos, due to the fact that such construction will result in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa being completely surrounded by settlements.
Like E-1, Givat Hamatos is a game-changer - if not a game-ender. For our in-depth analysis of these plans see: here and here.
3. Where things stand today
At this juncture it is worth taking an updated look at the East Jerusalem settlement schemes currently under construction, or approaching implementation (see map above, or view/download map here). The list is not exhaustive, and includes only those plans that are underway or will be implemented in short order, and are being acted upon.
A: Plans where tenders have been recently been issued, or were construction is underway or imminent (Total: 3148 units)
B. Plans after approval, awaiting tenders any day (Total: 797 units)
C. Plans before the committees this month in run-up to final approval (Total: 6514-6814 units, 1100 hotel rooms)
D. Plans deposited for public review: (Total: 3996 units)
- E-1 Plan 420/4/7 - 1250 units
- E-1 Plan 420/4/10 - 2146 units