Givat Hamatos – Nearing the Point-of-No-Return
Givat Hamatos A: During the week of April 16th, three consecutive days of intense hearings were held regarding Plan 14295, Givat Hamatos A, to consider the objections by an external investigator during. There were 15 objections all together, and they were all heard. It appears that the plan, which as previously noted is sponsored by the Israel Lands Authority but the approval of which falls under the exclusive authority of the Jerusalem Municipality – could receive final approval in one to two months. This means that tenders are possible, and even likely, in the second half of 2012. For previous reporting on Givat Hamatos A, see here.
Givat Hamatos D: On April 19th, Plan 5834D for Givat Hamatos D was deposited for public review. This plan provides for the construction of 1100 hotel rooms and a public building. The plan was the subject of a great deal of press coverage the week of May 1 and was condemned by France and Jordan.
With the deposit of Plan 5834D, all four Givat Hamatos plans are now in play and being rapidly expedited. Plans for Givat Hamatos B (Town Plan 5834B) and Givat Hamatos C (Town Plan 5834C) have already been deposited for public review, and the final hearings prior to approval have commenced. As we reported previously, the Givat Hamatos Bplan was deposited for public review in March 2010, two days before the crisis created by the announcement of the 1600-unit Ramat Shlomo plan during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel. After lying dormant for more than a year and a half, it came back to life in December 2011. Likewise, the Givat Hamatos C plan was deposited for public review in the post-Annapolis surge of 2008; it then lay dormant, too, until it was brought out of mothballs in December 2011.
As we have noted previously, Givat Hamatos is not just another settlement. It is a game-changer, representing a mini-E-1 on Jerusalem’s southern flank. If constructed, it will be devastating to the viability of the two-state solution in Jerusalem (and, thus, the two-state solution in general). Moreover, the Givat Hamatos approval process is proceeding much more quickly than previously anticipated, indicating a clear desire by some in positions of authority to make this a fait accompli before anyone can stop them.
While the lands involved include properties owned by private individuals (Israeli and Palestinian), the majority of the area is controlled by the Government of Israel. Moreover, the plans are sponsored by the Israel Lands Authority and are (with the exception of Givat Hamatos A) being approved by the Ministry of the Interior. The tenders that will be published are those of the Ministry of Construction and the Israel Land Authority. Consequently, the Government of Israel is deeply implicated in these projects up to this point can still halt them at whim – and must do so if the two-state solution is to remain viable. We are only months away from a point of no return.
A map showing the location of all four Givat Hamatos plans can be viewed/downloaded here.