|Subsequent to Peace Now’s announcement about Israel Land Authority’s preparations to open bidding for 1,077 housing units in Givat Hamatos, Ir Amim researcher Aviv Tatarsky visited Givat Hamatos this morning and reported seeing heavy machinery working in the field. It is clear that the work has been ongoing for several days and has exposed much of the field without digging deep. Seeing as there is no building permit for this area and that the announcement about the tenders has yet to be published, this is not work being done for building of the settlement. One of the people in the area introduced himself as a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority and explained that they were checking the field for the presence of antiquities – a necessary operation before land development occurs. When asked by researcher Aviv Tatarsky when the fieldwork is expected to begin, the official replied that he did not know.
This is undoubtedly a worrying sign that the delay in the tenders will not last long and that there is intention to open them for bidding shortly.
Although there is yet no official announcement on the opening of bidding for the Givat Hamatos tenders, Peace Now’s information must be seriously taken into consideration. After years that Israel has been forced to stay construction on the new settlement of Givat Hamatos, these two months before the turnover of the US Presidential Administration will be a critical period. We believe that Israel will try to make the most of this time to advance motions that it believes that the incoming administration will oppose. Due to the sensitive nature of the site, the opening of the tender for Givat Hamatos is one of the first on the list of settlement construction that Israel is bound to advance.