Middle East Monitor / February 24, 2020
An official Israeli channel reported, on Sunday 23 February 2020, that the office of the outgoing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Ministry of Construction and Housing are about to announce in a couple of days bids to build about 1,000 settlement units in Givat Hamatos area (outpost), south of occupied Jerusalem.
Kan channel added that the Jerusalem municipality will issue bids within days, approved by Netanyahu’s office and the Ministry of Housing, to build around 1,000 settlement units in Givat Hamatos.
The channel explained that there is talk about bids that will be implemented in the region in which settlement construction was frozen in 2014, due to the American and German opposition at the time to settlement.
For his part, a senior official in the Jerusalem municipality has confirmed this information, adding to the channel that the difference between the approval of the construction that was frozen in the year 2014, and the approval this time, is that there are bids that will be publicly carried out in the coming days.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu took a tour around the Givat Hamatos area, saying that construction restrictions in the area no longer exist.
During the past three days, the EU, Germany, Turkey, France, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority condemned “Israel’s decision” to expand settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
On the same day, Netanyahu revealed plans to build 5,200 new settlement units in East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu pointed out that 2,200 units would be established in the Har Homa settlement, built on the lands of Jabal Abu Ghneim, in addition to 3,000 units in Givat Hamatos, south of East Jerusalem.
The decision comes less than two weeks before the early “Israeli Knesset” elections, scheduled for 2 March.
The international community considers settlement in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as illegal.
According to the data of the Israeli Peace Now organization, there are 13 illegal outposts in East Jerusalem.