Israel plans to build 9,000 Jewish settlement units on ruins of Palestinian airport

Middle East Monitor  /  November 14, 2022

The Israeli occupation authorities are planning to build 9,000 new Jewish settlement units on the ruins of Qalandia Airport near occupied Jerusalem, Sama news agency reported on Sunday.

The plan was submitted for discussion by the Israeli-run Jerusalem Municipality in August last year, but stalled under pressure from rights groups and EU member states. Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran said in November 2021 said that the plan had been cancelled and was “off the table”. Recently, however, the plan has been revived and is set to be discussed again by the municipality.

This was confirmed by Ahmad al-Ruwaidi, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Al-Ruwaidi said that the PA leadership has been trying to stop the plan, and stressed that the land is owned by the Palestinians.

The proposal is to transform the 124-hectare airport site, from which flights operated between 1924 and 2000, into a new settlement, with parks, hotels, public buildings, commercial areas and settler housing.

EU Representative to the PA Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff said after visiting the site last year that the plan jeopardizes a potential two-state solution to the conflict and will help to separate Jerusalem from its West Bank hinterland.

All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law.