|Against the backdrop of an expedited advancement of the Givat Hamatos tender process, Ir Amim was just made aware that the Israeli authorities likewise rushed to deposit the plan for 540 housing units on Har Homa E on December 4, 2020. While presented as an extension to the existing neighborhood/settlement of Har Homa, the plan will rather establish an entirely new residential area in between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos. This new residential location would be built along the northwestern edge, just 400 meters from the area in Givat Hamatos designated for the planned 1257 housing units. The plan's deposit for objections occurred just 11 days after the District Planning Committee approved the plan for deposit on November 23.
The period for submission of objections is 60 days from the day of the plan’s deposit (December 4), which will conclude next week on February 4, 2021. As has been demonstrated with the rapid acceleration of plans over the past few months, discussion on the objections is likely to take place quickly in the course of the next few weeks.
The swift promotion of this plan along with the Givat Hamatos tender is indicative of the Israeli government's intent to continue to fast-track as many settlement construction projects as possible in East Jerusalem and its vicinity even after the change in the US administration last week.
Along with Givat Hamatos, construction in Har Homa E will serve as another step in linking the existing Har Homa and Gilo neighborhoods/settlements to create an Israeli sealing-off effect along the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem. This will fracture Bethlehem and the southern West Bank from East Jerusalem, while isolating the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa and depleting the remaining land reserves for further development of the neighborhood. If carried out, these measures will constitute a major obstacle towards the future establishment of a contiguous independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.