Saturday, February 4, 2012

East Jerusalem Settlements and the Imminent Demise of the Two-State Solution

Terrestrial Jerusalem has just published a new report in January 2012 titled East Jerusalem Settlements and the Imminent Demise of the Two-State Solution

Here are some of the highlights:

"Under the 2003 Geneva Accords, the area of Har Homa is to fall under Palestinian sovereignty. But today, a settlement neighborhood that did not exist in 2000 is now home to 12,000 Israeli  residents."  It will be very difficult to convince Palestinians to accept that -- after Oslo, after it was long clear that Jerusalem needed to be shared by both sides -- they should forfeit this land to Israeli settlers.

"Following a quiet, de facto settlement freeze imposed by PM Netanyahu in March  2010, in November 2010 settlement activities in East  Jerusalem resumed and have since exceeded even  previously high levels by 50%-200%. East Jerusalem  has not witnessed settlement activities of such a pace and scope since the 1970s."

The report also discusses a "welding" process in East Jerusalem, whereby new settlement construction in East Jerusalem is strategic in order to create a buffer between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem (through additional construction in Givat Hamatos, announced in October 2011).  What is particularly interesting about this construction is that some 1800 of the 4000 new housing units will be built as a part of Beit Safafa.  On the one hand, this is great news for Beit Safafa residents and more generally Palestinian East Jerusalem.  On the other hand, one wonders if this isn't a ploy to justify the additional Jewish settlement construction -- some 2200 units, as well as to inter-link, or "weld," as Terrestrial Jerusalem puts it, the Arab neighborhoods of the city into the Jews ones.

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