The Israel Land Authority Announced Winners Of The Givat Hamatos Tender

20 January 2021
The Israel Land Authority (ILA) has chosen the winning contractors for the Givat Hamatos tender (Tender 61-20 for the construction of 1,257 housing units). 

As reported in Ir Amim's previous alerts, last week Ir Amim filed a petition against the tender which resulted in the court ordering a freeze of the tender processes, but yesterday the court cancelled the freeze. The Israeli government has rushed to announce the winners with the aim of presenting the tender as a done deal a mere 6 hours before the US Presidential inauguration of Joe Biden. 

Possible steps of action

The chances to stop the construction of Givat Hamatos have now been reduced. Still, it is possible - though admittedly more difficult - to demand that the Israeli government still stop the process and refrain from creating a new settlement in one of the most strategic locations in East Jerusalem. Even if the ILA signs a contract with the winning contractors, the agreement can be revoked and the contractors compensated. Precedents from other cases of tender cancellation show that such compensation is awarded for the expenses the contractors incurred and not for the much larger loss of potential income from apartment sales. 

With the announcement of the winners, there are several more preliminary steps that need to happen before actual construction can begin. A 90-day period is allocated for signing the contracts between the ILA and the contractors. Then, the contractors need to request building permits which the Local Planning Committee at the Jerusalem Municipality needs to approve. The full process within the Municipality involves several more stages with payment of fees and acquiring approvals from the Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning Department. 

While these measures are considered technical and straightforward, they still leave a period of time – at least several months - during which demands to block construction can continue. 

Furthermore, infrastructure construction needs to take place prior to the construction of the residential units themselves.

Ir Amim's Petition against Discrimination in the Tender

Ir Amim's petition is still pending and the court is scheduled to discuss it on May 27. The petition targets the conditions of eligibility for subsidized housing within the tender which discriminate against Palestinians. The petition does not call for cancellation of the tender but it remains to be seen how the petition will be viewed by the court and whether or not this will affect more than the specific discrimination present. One possible result of the petition – although we do not think its likelihood is high - can be that subsidized housing be completely removed from the tender in which case it is very possible that the tender will have to be reissued.

Accelerated Settlement Construction

The fact that the ILA hastened to announce the winners of the tender only 6 hours before Joe Biden's inauguration serves to underline how determined the Israeli government is to create as many facts on the ground as possible before Biden takes office.