[creeping annexation] Israel wants to expand city to restrict Palestinian population

Excavation works are carried out at the northern Israeli town of Metula (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 30, 2020

The Israeli government is trying to expand the jurisdiction of the northern Jewish town of Harish by nearly 50 per cent to prevent Palestinians from forming a majority in the area, Haaretz reported.

The request, proposed by the Interior Ministry, to expand its boundaries comes following a report released by the Housing Ministry, which detailed the expected demographic changes in the area to 2050. The figures predict that the Palestinian population in the area will reach 51 per cent of the total 700,000 expected residents.

“The picture of the demographic growth in the surrounding space shows the area is marked by a growing, significant rate of Arab [Palestinian] population,” the Housing Ministry’s document stated.

“The demographic balance is about to change: A predominantly non-Jewish population will inhabit the district.”

The town had already been expanded twice despite warnings from Adalah, the Palestinian human rights organisation based in Haifa, that the move would impact negatively upon the area’s surrounding Palestinian towns and villages and their physical development.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that transforming Harish into a city is a “great Zionist message, also directed at Israel’s enemies.”

Located along the coastal plain between Tel Aviv and Haifa, Harish has a population target set by the government of 100,000. At present, hundreds of its homes stand vacant.