Middle East Monitor / November 25, 2021
Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality advanced plans to build 9,000 settlement units on the site of the deserted Qalandiya Airport in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, local media revealed yesterday.
The proposal is now set to be considered by the District Committee for Planning and Building, under the auspices of the Finance Ministry, on 6 December, The Times of Israel said.
The project will transform the 124-hectare airport site, which operated from 1924 to 2000, into a new settlement, with parks, hotels, public buildings, commercial areas and housing.
On Monday, a delegation of European Union officials visited the site. The EU Representative to the PA, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, said that the plan jeopardized a potential two-state resolution to the conflict and helped sever Jerusalem from the West Bank.
“Jerusalem is a living, breathing, growing capital city of the state of Israel,” Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said. “The housing project will provide thousands of much-needed housing units.”
The Times of Israel said the site was designated as a Palestinian tourism zone in former US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century“.
The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “this settlement plan aims to complete the separation of Jerusalem from its Palestinian surroundings from the north as part of a process to Judaize the city and change its historical, legal and demographic reality, and remove it from any future negotiations.”
The ministry said that it considers it “extremely dangerous to complete the process of separating Jerusalem from its Palestinian surroundings, especially because of the repercussions of this move on the chances of implementing the principle of the two-state solution.”
The PA ministry called on the international community, the US administration and the countries that claim to adhere to the two-state solution to intervene immediately and urgently to stop the implementation of Israel’s “colonial projects and schemes that perpetuate the occupation, settlement and apartheid regime.”