|Today Ir Amim - together with Peace Now and the Association of Environmental Justice in Israel- submitted their objection to the E1 plans, E1-South (TPS YOSH 420-4-7) and E1-East (TPS YOSH 420-4-10). The objection was joined by six leading Israeli academics from the fields of planning and geography as well as over 2,000 Israeli citizens who added their signatures to the objection.
The Civil Administration has not yet scheduled a date for the discussion on objections to the plan. Such a discussion is the last stage for the final approval of the plans after which tenders can be published and construction can begin. Scheduling the date for such sensitive plans will most likely need the approval of both the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister.
The two E1 plans are for a total of 3,400 housing units on an area of over 2,100 dunams. Their construction will have far-reaching effects such ascreating a contiguous, Israeli built-up area extending from Jerusalem through E1 to the Maale Adumim settlement - 11 kilometers beyond the Green Line. This will block the eastern connection of East Jerusalem to the West Bank as well as disconnect Ramallah and the north of the West Bank from Bethlehem and the south of the West Bank.
Construction in E1 will be a death blow to the prospects of a sustainable Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
The advancement of the two plans is happening after many years during which Israel had to refrain from doing so. The E1 plans are leading examples of numerous projects – settlement plans, roads etc. – that the Israeli government is advancing in the West Bank and specifically in Greater Jerusalem in recent months and which constitute a dramatic leap towards de-facto annexation.
Settlement construction in E1 will also mean the uprooting of roughly 3,000 Palestinian living in small Bedouin communities in the area, the most well-known of which is Khan al-Akhmar.
The objection focuses on the centrality of E1 as the center of the Palestinian metropolis surrounding East Jerusalem. As its only open land reserve, it is essential for its development and for sustainable functioning of a future Palestinian state. Additionally, settlement construction in this area will fragment the Palestinian space and have many negative impacts on the nearby Palestinian towns.