Before construction in E1 can take place detailed outline plans need to be approved. Currently, the two plans for residential construction in the area which have advanced furthest in the approval process are:
- YOSH/420/4/7 known as E1 South is for construction of 1,228 housing units in an area of 818 dunams.
- YOSH/420/4/10 known as E1 East is for construction of 2,173 housing units in an area of 1,315 dunams.
Both plans were approved for deposit in December 2012 as an Israeli retaliation for the United Nations’ General Assembly decision to recognize Palestine as a no-member state. Since December 2012, the plans have not been advanced due to strong international objections.
If the E1 plans are now advanced, they may be deposited for objections. It is possible that due to the years that passed since their approval for deposit, the Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration will first have to reapprove the plans for deposit. If deposited, the full details of the plan will be published and there will be a period of sixty days during which formal objections to the plan can be submitted. This is a crucial step in the approval process of outline plans.
Excerpt from Netanyahu's speech today
Netanyahu’s announcement took place today at the annual conference of the right wing newspaper “Channel 7”. Netanyahu warns that Israel will not be able to withstand international sanctions if those are imposed on her demand that it withdraw to the 1967 borders. Netanyahu takes pride in his success in blocking moves to impose such sanctions:
“In the 1956 war Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula. My father met with Prime Minister Ben Gurion and told him that he will not be able to keep Israel in Sinai because the United States will immediately force him out. ‘Eisenhower will give you an ultimatum’ my father said. ‘He will threaten you with sanctions and you will withdraw’. A few days later Ben Gurion indeed had to withdraw from the Sinai under an American Ultimatum.
You must understand that no matter how strong Israel is it will be very difficult for us to withstand international sanctions. This is something that never happened for even one day since the establishment of the state of Israel… The fact is that a strong Israeli prime minister, the first prime minister, did not have the power to withstand such pressure when it was leveled at him….
[before Obama ended his term in office] the United Nations’ Security Council passed resolution 2334. But Obama also wanted to advance at the Security Council another, more dangerous resolution that would determine that Israel has to withdraw to the 1967 borders with slight adjustments, to divide Jerusalem and accept other demands… when I met with the Russian president Putin I asked him that if such a decision is advanced he oppose it. When the time came Putin spoke his mind. This is why the decision did not pass…
[as Prime Minister] I blocked the demands for Israeli withdrawal and the attempts that would make us capitulate to international pressures just like what happened to Ben Gurion. It wouldn’t be enough to stand and say no no no [if sanctions were to be imposed]… What would you do if such a decision was passed at the Security Council? You wouldn’t do anything. You would withdraw because the whole country would capitulate.”
The significance of E1
The area of the E1 area is 12 square kilometers large. It stretches eastwards from the boundary of annexed East Jerusalem and connects it with the Maale Adumim settlement (see map). Construction in the E1 area will have far reaching consequences: It will create a contiguous built up Israeli wedge between Ramallah and the north of the West Bank and also between Bethlehem and the south of the West Bank. It will also block future Palestinian contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Construction in E1 is considered to be the final nail in the coffin of the two state solution. All the more so, if the recent announcements regarding Givat Hamatos, Har Homa E, and Atarot materialize into actual construction of new settlements, these will create huge obstacles to the creation of a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Another reason that construction in E1 has been a reason for international concern is the Israeli intention to uproot the Bedouin communities living in the area. In October 2018, Israel began actions to uproot the Bedouin community in Khan Alakhmar but was pressured by the European Union and several member states to freeze the move. It was reported that Israel was worried about repercussions in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
For a detailed explanation of the Israeli plans in E1 and their consequences see Ir Amim’s report.
Although advancement of the plans was frozen for seven years, Israel has advanced in that period other moves around the E1 area which are necessary if construction in E1 is to take place in the future. These include –
- The opening of the Eastern Ring Road – also known as the Apartheid Road – which allows Israel to divert Palestinian traffic away from the E1 area.
- The above mentioned attempt – which was blocked at the last moment – to uproot the Bedouin community in Khan Alakhmar
For a full description of Israeli actions in recent years around E1 please see Ir Amim’s alert on the subject.
Ir Amim will follow and update on developments regarding E1 plans.