New & Recycled East Jerusalem Settlement Tenders
On 4/27, the Israel Lands Authority published tenders for the construction of 77 new settlement units. Of these, only 18 are brand new (to be built in Pisgat Zeev, under Town Plan 11647). The remaining tenders were previously published but not awarded, and are now being recycled. These are the tender for another 23 units in Pisgat Zeev (published originally back on August 11, 2013, with the commencement of the Kerry talks) and 36 units in Neve Yaacov (published originally back on January 12, 2014, during Israeli-Palestinian talks).
- While the number of brand new units tendered is low, the publication of these new and recycled tenders are nonetheless a significant development – one which does not augur well for the future.
- It is likely that these tenders were published with Netanyahu’s knowledge and consent. Why? Because the freeze on new tenders since June 5, 2014 has been so complete that it clearly had to have been coordinated with (or directed by) Netanyahu; a decision now to break that freeze would require the same.
- With these new and recycled tenders, Netanyahu appears to “be testing the waters” in a run-up to the formation of his new coalition – in fact, it is surprising that it has taken so long. If so, the de facto, albeit partial, settlement freeze in East Jerusalem may well be over.
- This mixed bag of new and recycled tenders may be indicative of future settlement patterns in the coming weeks and months in East Jerusalem. Why? Because Netanyahu has for the most part run out of tenders that can be issued in East Jerusalem.
- The only place left where large numbers of East Jerusalem tenders are available to be published is Givat Hamatos with its 1500-2610 units. Almost all other possible tenders were published in the previous surges. Other than Givat Hamatos (which Netanyahu has apparently committed to the U.S. and Europe that he will not pursue), what remains are residual units here and there – like those published on April 27 – that amount to a cumulative total of a few hundred units.