|On Wednesday, April 7, the Local Planning Committee is scheduled to discuss objections to the outline plan (TPS 285411) for 540 housing units in Har Homa E (also known as Har Homa West). While portrayed as an extension to the existing Har Homa neighborhood/settlement, the plan will rather establish a completely new settlement over the Green Line in East Jerusalem in the open space between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos. This new neighborhood/settlement would be built along the northwestern edge, just 400 meters from the area designated for the planned 1257 housing units in Givat Hamatos. If constructed, it will complete Israeli territorial contiguity along the southern perimeter and sever East Jerusalem from Bethlehem and the southern West Bank.
For years the Israeli authorities had refrained from advancing the plan for Har Homa E (along with Givat Hamatos) as a result of US and international opposition due to its politically sensitive location and lethal impact on the viability of a two-state solution. With the change in US policy on Jerusalem and settlement building under the Trump Administration, the moratorium on settlement advancements in and around East Jerusalem was lifted. This break in longstanding restraint was marked most notably by Netanyahu's announcement last February to initiate construction in international redline areas, including Har Homa E, Givat Hamatos and E1, which was followed by a rapid acceleration of these plans over the past year.
The planned discussion on objections to the Har Homa E plan is the second to last stage in the plan's approval process. Such a measure constitutes the first advancement of a settlement plan beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem since US President Biden entered office and should be seen as an Israeli-initiated challenge to the new American administration with the intent of probing US reaction.
The convening of this discussion indicates that despite the change in the US administration, Israel intends to continue to advance settlement construction in some of the most politically strategic locations in East Jerusalem and its vicinity ("Greater Jerusalem").