Planning, Building, and Settlements in East Jerusalem 2015

Following the failure of the Kerry talks in April 2014, the promotion of Israeli building plans over the Green Line, particularly in East Jerusalem, slowed significantly. In previous years, Israel forwarded building plans and published tenders for construction in East Jerusalem in the range of thousands of housing units each year. In 2015, the picture was different, with the scope of building plans and marketing of tenders much more limited than in past years. Most of the major building plans in East Jerusalem were already approved in 2012. The number of tenders issued in 2015 for approved plans was relatively minor and very few new plans reached the planning committees, even when the authorities explicitly stated that plans would be promoted.

During the nine months of negotiations led by US Secretary of State John Kerry – from July 2013 through April 2014 – Israel published tenders for 3,020 housing units in East Jerusalem. Since the failure of the talks in 2014 and through the end of November 2015, Israel published almost no tenders over the Green Line, in East Jerusalem in particular. Strong pressure by the Jewish Home party to advance construction as a condition for its support of the state budget finally led to the publication of a significant tender for 438 housing units in Ramat Shlomo.

This being said, actual construction related to previously approved plans continued. In addition to the construction of hundreds of housing units in Ramot (to the west of Begin Highway, toward the Givat Ze’ev settlement bloc) and preparations for the construction of 708 housing units on the western slopes of Gilo, rapid construction is underway in Har Homa C, which will extend the wedge between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.

The slow pace of plan promotion since the second half of 2015 contrasts with the unprecedented wave of seizures of Palestinian properties in the Old City and more