Israel has advanced a new statement plan in Jerusalem after postponing it for several weeks due to US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the region.
Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality issued a tender to establish 434 settlement units on lands belonging to the Palestinian town of Sur Baher, southeast of Jerusalem.
The “Grand Project” is estimated to cost about 1.07 billion shekels. Once implemented, it will reach the 1967 borders, which the Palestinians demand to be the borders of their future state.
The Israel-based Azorim Investment Development and Construction Company is set to implement the project, which has a total area of about 7.3 dunums, extending to Ramat Rachel settlement, overlooking Bethlehem.
The new projects sparked anger among Palestinians who considered it an integral part of the campaigns to Judaize Jerusalem and distort its cultural Palestinian, Christian, Islamic identity.
Palestine’s Foreign Ministry denounced the tender, stressing that it is part of a racist colonial expansionist scheme that aims to isolate Jerusalem from its vicinity and an extension of the crimes of the occupation and its settlers on the ground.
“It (project) seeks to deepen settlement and the theft of more land in a way that undermines efforts to launch a real and feasible peace process and negotiations between Palestine and Israel,” the ministry explained.
It held the Israeli government fully and directly responsible for the ongoing settlement crimes and considered the settlement-deepening attempts a systematic provocation of conflicts.
The Ministry called on the international community and the US administration to take immediate action to protect the two-state solution and translate the anti-settlement stance into practical measures and steps that would force the occupying power to stop it immediately.
Hamas Movement also condemned Israel’s new plan and considered it a further Judaization attempt to target the city’s identity.
“It is a desperate attempt that will not succeed in obliterating the landmarks of the holy city and changing historical facts,” it stressed in a statement.
A Hamas spokesman said this “Zionist crime will be confronted with the unity and struggle of our people by all means.”
Hamas urged Palestinians to have more patience and stand still in the face of the occupation’s violations and Judaization schemes.