|Today, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee (DPC) approved the Givat HaShaked settlement plan for deposit for objections, advancing it one step closer to full approval. According to the committee’s press release and promotional material published following its decision, the plan approved for deposit includes 700 housing units dispersed between four 24-story apartment towers alongside several six-story buildings. In addition to the housing units, the plan allocates space for the establishment of a school as well as business and commercial areas. It should be underscored that the press release lacked all mention of the area being situated on the edge of Sharafat, the northwestern portion of the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa, and rather emphasized its proximity to West Jerusalem neighborhoods, recreational areas, and planned light-rail lines. See DPC's promotional material and visuals below.
Beyond constituting another new settlement in Jerusalem and its geopolitical implications, Givat HaShaked is also a flagrant example of the breadth and depth of housing and planning discrimination in the city. While Givat HaShaked is intended for land located along the built-up area of Sharafat, it is not designated for the community’s development needs, but rather a new housing project for Israelis over the Green Line in Jerusalem. Construction of this new settlement will likewise stand in stark contrast to the existing Palestinian neighborhood, dwarfing and engulfing Sharafat with high-rise apartment buildings – the likes of which Israeli authorities refuse to promote or approve for Palestinian areas. In a similar fashion, the remaining land reserves on the eastern side of Beit Safafa, which could have been used to address the neighborhood's housing needs, were depleted to advance construction of the Israeli settlement of Givat Hamatos.
While zoning plans for thousands of housing units are advanced yearly for Israeli settlements and neighborhoods across the city, equitable residential development is virtually neglected in planning schemes for Palestinian areas, leading to devastating rates of home demolitions.
In the absence of zoning plans, it is impossible to procure building permits, forcing many Palestinians to build without them, which subjects their homes to the threat of demolition. Since the start of 2022, there have been 118 demolitions across East Jerusalem, 61 of which were residential units.
See our previous alert for further details and analysis of the plan.