Israel Approves over 1,200 East Jerusalem Housing Units
Israel’s Housing Ministry and Land Authority have announced tenders for more than 1,200 housing units in an area of east Jerusalem whose growth threatens the contiguity of a future Palestinian state. The tenders for 1,257 housing units in Givat Hamatos were published on Sunday. The final day for contractors to submit proposals to build on the land is January 18, just two days before US President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in. Biden is opposed to continued construction in areas over the so-called Green Line, which marked Israel’s pre-1967 border with the West Bank and the eastern sector of Jerusalem. His administration is expected to push for a construction freeze. The Peace Now settlement watchdog group called Sunday’s announcement “a major blow to the prospects for peace and the possibility of a two-state solution.” The area in question straddles the main route from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and north into the West Bank, meaning it could limit movement for Palestinians. According to Peace Now, archeological excavations have already begun at the site to ensure that no artifacts or ruins get in the way of construction.