|As Ir Amim reported earlier this week, the Local Planning Committee convened yesterday (7 April) to discuss objections to the outline plan (TPS 285411) for 540 housing units on 27 dunams of land for the new settlement of Har Homa E. Following its discussion, the committee recommended the plan for approval. As the final stage in the approval process, the plan will go before the District Planning Committee on April 21 for discussion of objections and will subsequently decide on whether or not to approve the plan. Assuming the objections do not convince the District Committee to reject the plan, its decision will therefore constitute its final approval.
Tendering Stage Not Required for Construction to Take Place
Because the land in question is not state land but rather belongs to private Israeli landowners who claim to have purchased it, the plan's final approval does not require a tendering stage in order for construction to begin. The property-owners will be able to apply for building permits once approval of the plan is formally published. A request for building permits is not much more than a technical issue, and there is little possibility in deferring it. The exact timing of the start of construction is unknown. Before the building of housing units can commence, construction of infrastructure must be undertaken.
Along with Givat Hamatos, construction iof Har Homa E will serve as another step in linking the existing Har Homa and Gilo neighborhoods/settlements to create an Israeli sealing-off effect along the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem. This will fracture Bethlehem and the southern West Bank from East Jerusalem, while isolating the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa and depleting the remaining land reserves for further development of the neighborhood. If carried out, these measures will constitute a major obstacle towards the future establishment of a contiguous independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.