|In exactly one week from today—January 18—the bidding period for the tender for 1257 housing units on Givat Hamatos is slated to close, one of the final stages in the tender process. The closure is scheduled to take place just two days prior to the Inauguration of US president-elect Joe Biden.
Under the assumption that the incoming administration will likely oppose such moves, rightwing groups are expected to ramp up pressure on Netanyahu to exploit the last week of the Trump administration to ensure the tender process advances unencumbered.
Urgent and concerted intervention to freeze the tender is vital in this narrow window of time. The opening of the tender on November 15 significantly decreased the potentiality to effectively block this move, however, once the bidding period is closed and contracts awarded, it becomes nearly irreversible.
If carried through, Givat Hamatos would become the first new settlement in East Jerusalem in 20 years and would severely undermine the prospects of a viable, contiguous and independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem. Construction in Givat Hamatos would create Israeli territorial contiguity between the existing settlements of Gilo and Har Homa and effectively sever off the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem from Bethlehem and the southern part of the West Bank.
By enveloping the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa with Israeli construction, it would likewise detach the neighborhood from its Palestinian environs and deplete the only remaining land reserves for further residential development in the area. Ir Amim is currently exploring legal aspects concerning the existence of discrimination in the details of the tender and will update accordingly.