Provocative Israeli Settlement Plan Fuels Tensions in Jerusalem
The Israeli occupation is promoting a new settlement plan called ” New Talpiot ” for the southern region of occupied Jerusalem.
The plan is part of the extremist right-wing government’s five-year strategy to bolster settlements in the eastern part of the city and increase the number of settlers.
The so-called “Regional Planning Committee” discussed the proposal under the Israeli Ministry of Interior. Simultaneously, the Jerusalem municipality recently approved numerous building permits in the “Givat Hamatos B” settlement.
These developments coincide with progress in several other settlement schemes, aiming to establish new settlements or expand existing ones throughout the occupied city, including “Kidmat Zion,” “Nof Zahav,” “Beit Safafa,” “Ramot Alon A and B,” and “Um Lisun.”
The left-wing Israeli organization “Ir Amim” specializing in Jerusalem affairs reported that discussions about the Talbiyot Al-Jadeeda plan had been delayed several times in recent months. However, it is scheduled for discussion on August 24.
If realized, the plan would expand the “Givat Hamatos” settlement eastward towards “Har Homa” and significantly strengthen the settlement’s presence in the area.
It would contribute to reinforcing the settlement belt along the southern outskirts of East Jerusalem.
The New Talpiot plan is part of the Israeli occupation’s larger strategy to boost settlements in East Jerusalem, alter its demographic composition, and create a demographic imbalance in favor of settlers, as explained by Jerusalem affairs expert Fakhri Abu Diab.
The plan includes the construction of 3,500 settlement units, 1,300 hotel rooms, tourist centers, Jewish religious institutions, and synagogues on the eastern slopes of the “Givat Hamatos” settlement south of Jerusalem.
Abu Diab warns that the plan encompasses more than 140 acres in the southern area of Jerusalem, extending to the southeastern region near the towns of Beit Safafa, Um Tuba, and Sur Baher along the Hebron Road, marking the border between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
He emphasizes that there is a dangerous Israeli scheme to increase the number of settlers in East Jerusalem to half a million settlers by 2050, which would result in a minority of native Jerusalemites in their own city.
The plan’s promotion also involves settling landownership and official registration procedures within the designated area.
Through this plan, the Israeli occupation seeks to assert its sovereignty and dominance over the city, backed by the government’s support for such settlement initiatives.
The plan aims to solidify the overall settlement enterprise in Palestine and specifically in Jerusalem, with financial backing from the extremist Minister of National Security, Betzalel Smotrich.
Moreover, the new plan intends to connect settlements in the southern region of Jerusalem with its eastern part, creating a contiguous settlement bloc surrounding the targeted area.
The construction of tourism-oriented hotels in this region poses a potential challenge to tourism in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, undermining the Palestinian economy.
By doing so, Israel aims to deprive these hotels of foreign visitors who frequent these areas.
According to the ” New Talpiot ” plan, it will expand the “Givat Hamatos” settlement by around 40% and more than double the number of settlement housing units.
The rights group “Ir Amim” highlights that the plan caters exclusively to Israeli Jews, rather than addressing the urgent housing needs of Palestinians despite the land’s proximity to Beit Safafa, Um Tuba, and Sur Baher.