Monitoring Developments, Understanding Patterns
The developments of the last several weeks confirm an emerging pattern we reported upon in our November 18 report.
This bulletin is devoted to both provide updates on the developments mentioned in our previous reports, and to our analysis of the new schemes that have emerged over the past two months. Altogether, these developments paint a very troubling picture that show the determination of key members in the government to seal a new reality in Jerusalem, enhancing the continuity between the most problematic settlements in East Jerusalem, and the foothold of the settlers inside Palestinian neighborhoods. By creating such an avalanche of developments and advancing them at full speed, these governmental officials apparently seek to exploit the fact that those in the current government who remain committed to a two-state outcome are neither as resolute, focused nor concerned in preventing these developments as those who are promoting them.
I. The New Developments:
- The Lower Aqueduct – a new settlement neighborhood linking Givat Hamatos and Har Homa.
- The promotion of six new settlement schemes in existing Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, directly sponsored by the Custodian General.
- The statutory planning of Givat Shaked, one of the six new Custodian General settlements.
- The irregular exchange between the Heads of Churches and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
II. The Updates:
- 9,000 settlement units at Atarot postponed.
- E-1 indefinitely postponed.
- The Supreme Court appeal regarding the Old City Cable Car
- The prospect of evictions and large-scale displacement in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
- The spike in home demolitions in East Jerusalem, specifically in areas targeted by the Silwan settlers (Wadi Yasul, al Bustan, Walajeh, etc.)
I. The New Developments
1. Lower Aqueduct Plan: A new settlement neighborhood linking Givat Hamatos and Har Homa
- The Plan – Plan No. 0101-0808840, known as the “Lower Aqueduct” (so named after the Roman aqueduct that carried water from the Artas springs near Bethlehem to the Temple Mount, and segments of which are within the boundaries of the plan) aims at creating a new settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem, half within the Green Line, and half in East Jerusalem. The plan covers an area of about 186 dunams (46.5 acres), and provides for the construction of 1465 housing units, 250 of which are for assisted care living. If implemented, this will be together with Givat Hamatos one of the two new Jewish neighborhoods to be built since the construction of the highly controversial settlement neighborhood of Har Homa in the late 1990s. The Aqueduct Settlement will link Har Homa to Givat Hamatos.
- Location: The plan is located in the southern slopes of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, which prior to 1967 was the southernmost point in Israeli Jerusalem.
The kibbutz and its surrounding area are an anomaly: geographically part of Jerusalem, they are not formally located within its municipal boundaries.
Consequently, the half of the Southern Aqueduct neighborhood that is located within Green Line Israel constitutes an enclave that is not part of Municipal Jerusalem, but falls under the jurisdiction of the Mateh Yehuda [Judaean Hills] Regional Council. The half that is within Municipal Jerusalem – as defined by Israel in 1967 – is in occupied East Jerusalem.
The planned neighborhood borders on the north west with Mar Elias, a Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery situated on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
- The official Plan’s developer are the Israel Lands Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality. However, when the smoke clears, it will become evident that the same protagonists that are facilitating settlements in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Givat Shaked, Musrara – i.e. the Custodian General and the Absentee Property Custodian – are deeply implicated in the Plan.
- Land ownership:
Of the 186 dunams, more than 100 dunams belong to local Palestinian residents, with another 10 dunams having been seized by the Absentee Property Custodian, 52 dunams managed by the Custodian General, 20 dunams owned by the Jewish National Fund and Jewish owners, and another 7 dunams being State land. The fact that most of the land in question is privately own by Palestinians, makes the proposed plan even more problematic.
Initially, the Municipality designated this specific site for a Business District for the benefit of the Palestinian residents of nearby Tuba, which, given the composition of the predominately private land ownership, made sense. However, the plan elicited vehement protests by the residents of Har Homa (which was built on lands expropriated from the residents of Umm Tuba). In the words of one resident “It’s dangerous for the girls. We need to live separately. We need to keep [the residents of Umm Tuba] away from us. They would harm our children and we need to build a wall between us and them. ” The Plan for the Business District were therefore moved to a remote site, and the area in question is now planned for the new Jewish settlement neighborhood.
The timeline to date
The Plan file was opened on 11.7.2021, and reviewed by the professional echelons of the Jerusalem District Planning Committee on 10.8.2021. The Plan was approved by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee meeting on 5.1.2022. The Jerusalem District Planning Committee convened on 17.1.2022 and decided to approve the Plan for public review. Upon publication of the Plan in the press and the public record, a sixty-day period will commence, during which interested parties may file objections.
The pace of the Plan’s approval process is very uncommon, and it appears likely that someone senior and in a position of authority is expediting the Plan at a highly irregular pace.
The Implications of the Plan
This plan is not routine. Its ramifications are significant for the following reasons:
- A new settlement – Along with nearby Givat Hamatos, this the second new settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem to be built in the past thirty years.
- The bigger picture: connecting Har Homa with pre-1967 Israel
This Plan is not being implemented in a vacuum. It constitutes yet another significant link in the chain connecting a number of new settlement schemes currently being expedited by Israeli authorities on the southern flank of East Jerusalem.
- An extension of Har Homa – The Lower Aqueduct Plan is geographically an extension of Har Homa, by far the most controversial Israeli settlement neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, both among Israel’s allies in the international community and with the Palestinians.
Har Homa was built during the Oslo process, in defiance of universal international opposition. From the Palestinian perspective, it therefore symbolizes the worst aspect of the Oslo process: Oslo was not used to move towards a political agreement, but rather was abused to coerce the Palestinians to acquiesce to strategic settlement expansion under the cover of negotiations. It demonstrated that for Israel, its borders were not being determined in the negotiating room, but by earth-moving equipment at Har Homa.
- Sealing East Jerusalem off from Bethlehem – The Lower Aqueduct Plan aims at linking Har Homa to the newly approved settlement of Givat Hamatos, and at creating an almost uninterrupted contiguity between Har Homa West, Ahuzat Nof Gilo and Har Gilo West. The cumulative impact of these plans is to create a continuous built-up buffer, sealing East Jerusalem off from its sister city, Bethlehem.
Viewed in context, the Lower Aqueduct Plan is a significant component in a strategic thrust aimed at consolidating sole Israeli rule over East Jerusalem, and cutting it off from its environs in the West Bank.
The physical detachment of East Jerusalem from Bethlehem is not only a source of concern for the Palestinians and the supporters of the two-state solution in the international community, it also antagonizes a majority of Christian denominations around the world for whom the isolation of the monastery from its surrounding will be a source of concern.
- The risk of tensions – The tension of May 2021 that led to the eruption of violence has not dissipated, and all the underlaying causes are still in play. The Plan to build about 1,500 housing units for Israelis, in addition to the 56,000 housing units already built, will only add to tensions created by the sharp uptick in Palestinian home demolitions in East Jerusalem. This further contrast with the fact that fewer than 600 housing units were built for Palestinians since 1967, the most recent of which was in the 1970s.
This plan, together with the other developments related to Jerusalem, sends a similar message: Jerusalem is off the table, and the government is determined to take unilateral measures to assure that it remains that way.
2. Unprecedented: The Custodian General plans six new neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
On December 13, Haaretz revealed that the Custodian General also plans to advance construction of six new neighborhoods within existing Palestinian neighborhoods. The Custodian General is an Israeli government official operating in the framework of the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for managing property of individuals whose whereabouts are unknown (the Custodian General should not be confused with the Custodian of Absentee Property, who assumes ownership of purportedly absentee Palestinians and turns them over to the Government of Israel, and in East Jerusalem, to the settlers).
The six neighborhoods are located in the Umm Haroun section of Sheikh Jarrah, in Sur Baher, Beit Hanina (the precise location of which is not known to us), in the part of Musrara near the Damascus Gate, and in Beit Safafa/Sharafat. The Sharafat plan relates to the new Jewish settlement neighborhood, Givat Shaked, which is discussed below. The Givat Shaked Plan is apparently the only plan that has already been submitted to planning authorities.
Since 1967, the Government of Israel has planned and directly sponsored the construction of the large settlement neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, expropriating one third of the privately owned Palestinian land in East Jerusalem in order to do so. However, the government has never before directly been involved in the construction of neighborhoods within existing Palestinian neighborhoods. The settlement enclaves, which are not entire neighborhoods but rather a building or a building complex implanted inside Palestinian neighborhoods, were not created by the government, but rather by the settlers, albeit with the complicity and support of the government.
The Custodian General schemes will be the first time that the government of Israel (rather than private settlers and developers) will be building for Israelis inside the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
But while the involvement of the Custodian General in the creation of a new Jewish settlement neighborhood is without precedent, it should come as no surprise: the Custodian General has long been complicit with the settlers in East Jerusalem, as far back as 1992, when a governmental committee, the Klugman Committee, condemned the Custodian for these activities. In addition, the prospect of the large-scale evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan would not be taking place without the active support of the Custodian General, who in numerous cases directly initiated individual eviction proceedings. Indeed, the irregular, and likely illegal complicity of the Custodian General in the prospective displacement of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan has been one of the major defenses of the Palestinians in their attempt to overturn the evictions.
Lest there be any doubt regarding the interrelationship between the pending evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and the new Custodian General schemes: one of the plans entails the razing of the entire Um Haroun neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah (many of its residents are already subject to eviction proceedings), which is to be replaced by a new Israeli neighborhood.
With these six plans, the direct involvement of the government of Israel in general, and of the Custodian General in particular, is no longer clandestine, but official policy that has now become public knowledge. Not surprisingly, none of the affected Palestinian residents in these areas has been informed about these plans.
What happens next?
As noted, only the Sharafat/Givat Shaked Plan is moving through the planning process towards statutory approval. We will likely hear of the other five plans when a planning file will be opened for each in the Jerusalem Municipality and Interior Ministry.
3. Givat Shaked/Sharafat – the emergence of yet another plan for a new Israeli settlement neighborhood
- On August 2, the Custodian General and the Jerusalem Development Authority (the development arm of the Government of Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality joint) opened a planning file with the Interior Ministry (Plan 101-0969162).
- On December 8, the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee gave its initial approval for the construction of an entire new neighborhood in an area called Givat Shaked/Sharafat. The plan entails the construction of 473 settlement units, as well as schools and two synagogues, on 38 dunams (9.4 acres).
- Location – Dubbed Givat Shaked (“Almond Hill”), the new neighborhood is located beyond the Green Line, on the northern slopes of the Palestinian village/neighborhood of Beit Safafa, in an area known as Sharafat.
Objectives of the plan
While the neighborhood is adjacent to the build-up areas of the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa and includes land privately owned by its residents, it contributes to the encirclement of Beit Safafa and prevents its further development for the benefit of its residents.
The Hebrew name of the new neighborhood, the fact that it is specifically being designated as a new neighborhood (see the “Objectives” of Plan 101-0969162) and the fact that it explicitly designates areas for the construction of synagogues (see Section 4.4.2 of the Plan), clearly disclose that it is designed to be a new Jewish neighborhood.
Why is this new plan unique in its violation of specific Israeli undertakings?
The creation of a new Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem is a serious event in and of itself. It also stands in contradiction with a specific commitment given in May 1995 by the Rabin Government to President Clinton not to expropriate additional lands in East Jerusalem for the purpose of settlement expansion, and, more specifically, not to confiscate the land now identified as Givat Shaked.
This commitment followed the Rabin government’s announcement related to the expropriation of 535 dunams of Palestinian owned land in East Jerusalem for the purpose of settlement expansion. This expropriation was seen by Israel as nothing other than routine given that since 1967, Israel had already expropriated 24,000 dunams of Palestinian owned land in East Jerusalem. Rabin government’s announcement related to two locations: 330 dunams of land in the settlement neighborhood of Ramot, and 200 dunams of land in Sharafat, at the location now designated for the new Israeli settlement of Givat Shaked.
Given that the announcement took place in the context of the Oslo process, an international uproar of unprecedented dimensions ensued. The expropriation became front page headlines around the world. Both the Arab League and the UN Security Council took up the matter. A dispute erupted in the Israeli cabinet, with the Meretz ministers joined by some Labor cabinet members to vote against the move.
Initially Rabin held his ground and stood behind the decision to expropriate, but shortly thereafter attempted to placate the international community and his own coalition by promising that this would be the last expropriation in East Jerusalem. That did not suffice, and on May 23, 1995, Rabin froze the expropriation. Behind the scenes, Rabin made a formal undertaking to President Clinton, in exchange for US support in the Security Council: the Sharafat/Ramot expropriation would be rescinded, and Israel would never again expropriate Palestinian land in East Jerusalem for the purposes of settlement expansion. The storm abated. Months later, and without fanfare, the Minister of Finance formally rescinded the expropriation.
The government sponsored plan for a new Israeli settlement in Sharafat is not only in contradiction with the commitment not to expropriate additional lands in East Jerusalem, itis at the precise location on which the late Prime Minister Rabin had promised that the government of Israel will never build.
Next steps in the planning process
The decision by the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee was the first significant step in the planning process. The plan will be brought before the District Planning Committee on February 14, 2022, when it will decide whether the Plan will be deposited for public review. The Committee may decide to approve the plan for public review, reject it, or require amendments before it is deposited. If deposited, the Plan will be published and interested parties will be able to file objections within sixty days.
The Planning file for the neighborhood was opened on July 5. It was given preliminary approval on July 7, approved by the Municipality on December 8 and will go to the District Committee on February 14. This is highly irregular, and even the simplest technical plans take much longer. That a plan with 1500 units is proceeding so quickly is unprecedented, and no accident. This is break-neck speed.
As with the Aqueduct Plan discussed above, someone very senior (likely at Ministerial level) who is in a position of relevant authority is fast-tracking this Plan, and other senior members of the Government condoning it or turning a blind eye.
What we are witnessing in Sharafat is not an isolated incident but is part of an aggressive effort to expand the settlers’ presence in East Jerusalem and squeeze its Palestinian residents.
4. The bitter exchange between the Heads of Churches and the Israeli Foreign Ministry
On December 13, the thirteen Christian Patriarchs and Heads of Churches issued a joint cri de coeur regarding threats to the Christian presence in the Holy Land. While praising the Government of Israel for the manner in which it guarantees freedom of worship, the prelates drew attention to the increasing attacks by extremists on clerics and Church sites and property. They criticized both local officials and the police for failing to take steps to protect them. While drawing attention to attacks by extremists whose goal is to drive Christians from the Holy Land, they drew special attention to the fact that ” …radical groups continue to acquire strategic property in the Christian Quarter, with the aim of diminishing the Christian presence, often using underhanded dealings and intimidation tactics to evict residents from their homes, dramatically decreasing the Christian presence“. This allusion to the Imperial and Petra Hotels at Jaffa Gate clearly indicates that the issue of settler takeovers is high on the agenda of the Churches.
The statement concluded with a call for “… dialogue on the creation of a special Christian cultural and heritage zone to safeguard the integrity of the Christian Quarter in Old City Jerusalem and to ensure that its unique character and heritage are preserved for the of well-being of the local community, our national life, and the wider world”.
The response of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs was not late in coming. On December 22, three days before Christmas, the MFA released a statement categorically rejecting the claims of the Heads of Churches, characterizing their statement as ” infuriating…” and citing that “… Church leaders should be expected to understand their responsibility and the consequences of what they have published, which could lead to violence and bring harm to innocent people”.
This exchange is highly irregular and is symptomatic of the troubling state of the relations between Israel and the Churches in Jerusalem. We intend to devote an in-depth report on this issue in the near future.
1. Atarot: postponed
The ministry of Interior’s District Planning Committee held a hearing on December 6 to decide upon the deposit for review of a plan for the construction of 9,000 housing units in Atarot, on the site of former Qalandia airport.
The committee decided to suspend the plan due to environmental concerns voiced by the Ministry of Environmental protection (led by Meretz Minister Tamar Zandberg) and ordered that a survey would be conducted to evaluate the environmental impact of the Plan. These environmental concerns are genuine and widely acknowledged, and it is likely that they would have been raised during the review process, and potentially undermine its final approval.
Important pressure was reportedly exerted by the US administration and EU member states, asking the government to cancel the plan. This apparently led the government to temporarily remove the plan from the agenda of the committee, only to put the item back on the agenda before the planned date of the hearing. The removal and reinsertion of the agenda is something very unusual and highly suspicious. It requires the involvement and approval of key authorities and therefore it is very unlikely that it happened by mistake. It is so bizarre that it is difficult to explain.
Background on the plan and its ramifications
As we explained in previous reports, there has been previous attempts to advance Atarot construction plan, most notably in 2012 and 2017.
In terms of its location, Atarot could have as detrimental ramifications as E-1 as it would effectively form a buffer between Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and this area of the West Bank (Shu’afat and Beit Hanina from the south; Bir Nabala, Al Judeira, Al Jib, Rafat and Qalandia from the west; Ar-Ram, Dahiyat al Bareed and Jaba’ from the east; and Qalandia Refugee Camp, Kafr ‘Aqab and Ramallah from the north) and Ramallah. It will turn many of these neighborhoods into ghettos sandwiched between Israeli settlements to the north (Atarot), east (Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yaacov) and the west (Givat Zeev, Ramot).
Ramification of the decision
It is important to note that the plan has not been cancelled but suspended until the survey is completed. The survey will likely take several months, at the very least, and perhaps much longer. While this is an important decision that do remove the plan from the agenda in the foreseeable future, it will not prevent another government to revive it.
2. E1 – postponed indefinitely
As we recently reported, three hearings that dealt with the objections to the plan have already been held before a sub-committee of the West Bank Higher Planning Committee, the last of which took place on November 8, 2021. A fourth and final hearing was to be held on December 13 to enable the Maale Adumim Municipality to respond to the objections. It was anticipated that after this last hearing, we would have been only one decision away from the final approval of the plan, i.e. the Defense Minister’s decision to convene the Higher Planning Committee.
However, the December 13 was twice rescheduled, and finally cancelled. No new date has been scheduled.
This step could not have taken place without the knowledge and consent of the Prime Minister and the senior members of the Cabinet. It is noteworthy that the indefinite postponement of E-1 received virtually no public attention, most notably eliciting no reaction from the settler right.
3. Supreme Court deliberations on Old City Cable Car Plan
On November 28, the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice held a hearing to consider the petitions against the highly controversial cable car project. The plan of the cable car was approved on November 4, 2019 but led to an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Towards the hearing, the Minister of transportation Meirav Michaeli (Labor party) announced its opposition to the plan, in a response to a query addressed by Knesset member Alon Tal (Blue and White party), in which she stated that “Our position is that the cable car has no significant transportation role, and the harm [it causes] will exceed the benefits.”, while also noting “the scenic damage the project will cause in the Old City and in our heritage sites, as well as the political and security ramifications of promoting such a project.”
Although the Cabinet Secretary argued that the position of the minister of transportation was irrelevant given that the plan was already approved by the government, the court rejected that argument and asked the government to justify within 21 days the construction of the plan. The opponents to the plans will then have 10 days to respond.
On January 9, 2022, the State submitted to the Court its position declaring continued support of the Plan. We are consequently in a position in which the Government formally supports a Plan that is formally opposed by two Ministers in the Cabinet (Transportation and Environmental Affairs).
The opponents of the Plan will soon file their response, and a new Court date fixed.
Ramifications of the decision
The demand of the court for a clarification of the government’s position created an important window of opportunity to freeze the plan. While the onus primarily lay on those in the government to voice their opposition to the plan and make sure that their position is reflected in the opinion presented to the court, the international community would be well advised to seize this opportunity to strengthen and support their ability to do so by expressing their strong opposition to the plan.
As mentioned in our previous reports, the project is highly problematic for several reasons. Aside from the harm that it will cause to the special character of Jerusalem skyline, the fact that the last terminal is located in Silwan at a site managed by Elad’s settlers organization and situated less than 200 meters from Al Aqsa will dangerously enhance the settlers’ foothold on Silwan and their control over the access to the old city. As we have reported, the cable car is yet another component in the encirclement of the Old City by settler-related projects. Silwan residents will be the immediate victims of the project, as the cable car will pass over their homes, and may require demolition of upper floors. By doing so, the project will mark a significant step in the attempt to marginalize the Palestinian presence and ties to old city while underestimating the sensitivity of the place.
4. Evictions and displacement
There are several pending eviction cases potentially imminent that should be watched (and one that was already executed):
- Pending judgement for Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) – The judgment on the eviction of the first of the ten eviction cases in Sheikh Jarrah is still pending after the compromise suggested by the court was rejected by the residents last November. A verdict could be handed down at any time, enabling the authorities to immediately proceed with these evictions.
- The Salem case in Um Harun (Sheikh Jarrah) : the eviction was to be made on December 29 but was deferred to a flexible time between January 20 and February 8, at the request of the Police citing a security risk. New and apparently substantive claims raise doubts as to the validity of the eviction. Awaiting a court decision, the eviction does not currently seem imminent.
- The Salahia family in Sheikh Jarrah was evicted on January 17 and its home demolished.
The case of the Salahia family is very much different than other typical cases of Palestinian evictions in East Jerusalem, which generally consisted of Palestinian refugee living on properties that were owned by Jews before 1948 and purchased by private consortium acting for the benefits of the settlers. As Nir Hasson explained in a thread, the family has been threatened of eviction for the last three decades by a Palestinian company that runs the Ambassador Hotel and that purchased the right on the property from the Hussein family. Israel claims that the registration of the purchase has never been duly completed and therefore consider the property as absentee property. The municipality decided to expropriate the property and advance a plan to build a school for children with special needs in East Jerusalem, which is the official background of the eviction.
It is noteworthy that during the past thirty years, at the very least, no home in Jerusalem, East or West, was demolished in order to make way for a school. In addition, there is another site nearby in Sheikh Jarrah, where it is possible to build a school without any demolition whatsoever, but the Municipality and the Government thought it more appropriate to allocate the property to a Yeshiva located inside a Palestinian neighborhood. Finally, it was possible to build the schools on the land in question without modifying the plan of the building and without demolishing the Salahia family home.
The refusal of the authorities to entertain alternative and less damaging alternatives, together with the sites location equidistant between two nearby settlement complexes (Shepherds Hotel and Shimon Ha-tzadik) may possibly indicate that the property in question may ultimately serve the settlers, and not the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.
- The AG supports the eviction of the Sumreen family in Batan al Hawa case
The Attorney General submitted on January 9, 2022, his legal opinion on the case of the eviction of the Sumreen family from Batan al Hawa, in which he conveyed that there was no legal impediment to the eviction. Next step: the Supreme Court has yet to schedule the next hearing.
Demolitions in 2021 took place at the same high levels as in recent years. However, the official figure do not reflect the fact that the use of “self-demolitions” has significantly increased, and that there is indeed a spike in the total number of demolitions in East Jerusalem.
There is a troubling number of demolition orders which could soon be executed: more than 120 demolition orders have been stayed by the courts, and these postponements are about to expire. Unless frozen again by the courts, the scale of these demolitions is so large as they could result in the massive displacement of entire communities. Even though there is no indication of an intent of those in authority to engage in large-scale demolition and face the expected international uproar that it could generate, the possible imminence of those orders should not be dismissed.
- Wadi Yasul, Silwan: on November 28th the Jerusalem District Court rejected the suits of the residents and rescinded the stay of execution that were preventing the execution of demolition orders for 58 homes. The demolition orders can therefore be executed at any time, even though an appeal is likely to be submitted to the Supreme Court.
- Al Bustan, Silwan – The stay of execution on 72 demolition orders in Al Bustan will expire on February 12, unless further extended by the Court. After years of agreeing to postponements so that the residents could complete plans that would legalize the construction, during the past year the Municipality has reversed its position and now is calling for the cancellation of the stay of execution.
- Walajeh – A stay of execution currently preventing the demolition of 38 homes are likely to be rescinded at a Supreme Court hearing that was scheduled on December 26 but postponed to an undetermined date. The entire village is basically under the threat of demolition given that the area lacked an Israeli government-approved zoning plan authorizing construction. Consequently, all residential units build in the village are viewed as illegal.