New Settlement in Beit Safafa: Further Isolation of Jerusalemites, further Settlement Expansion
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New Settlement in Beit Safafa: Further Isolation of Jerusalemites, further Settlement Expansion

Occupation Forces revealed a plan for a new settlement in Beit Safafa, southwest of Jerusalem city. The core of the existing settlement of Giv’at Hamatos will now be made up of a new settlement comprising 1,850 housing units, and the adding of about 7,500 settlers to East Jerusalem. Originally, before 1967, the area of the proposed settlement had been incorporated into the Occupation’s “Town Plan Scheme” for Beit Safafa, in other words allocated built-up area of village lands as designated by the Occupation for the residential use of the people of Beit Safafa. In 1991 the Occupation excluded this area of Beit Safafa land from the Plan Scheme, ending up today as the newly proposed settlement of Giv’at Hamatos.

Palestinians of Eastern Beit Safafa will now suddenly find themselves taken out from their own neighborhood, and shifted over to the western margins of the new settlement. The eastern part, confiscated for the settlement, stretches along the Hebron Bypass Road, where the Occupation is to construct as well a tourist promenade, hotels, cafes and stores.

Although in theory the western margins of Beit Safafa—what will remain after continuous confiscation–could accommodate new housing units, they would total less than 45% of what is being set aside of Beit Safafa lands for the proposed settlement core. Meanwhile, possible new Palestinian housing units wouldn’t even cover some 2% of what is needed for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The new settlement will eliminate the sole remaining option to keep the people of Beit Safafa connected to the rest of Arab Jerusalem completely isolating it and creating instead a new, tighter link between the settlement of Gilo and the rest of the settlements in Jerusalem through an expanded Giv’at Hamatos, which will also serve as a connective springboard to the adjacent settlement of Har Homa.

The announcement of plans to confiscate Beit Safafa lands and build this new settlement in southern Jerusalem comes at the same time that the Occupation has declared that the Apartheid Wall in northwest and western Bethlehem is to confiscate all of western Bethlehem lands, in an area that will see massive settlement expansion seeking to create a link between various settlements in East Jerusalem, in other areas of the West Bank, and those inside the Green Line.