Three weeks ago, the government-owned Arim Company published a tender for the construction of infrastructure works in Givat Hamatos. The tender's bidding period closes on Sunday, June 6. The tender is designated for road construction along with sewerage and electrical infrastructure. The duration of the project is slated to take place over the course of 30 months.
Publication of the tender is yet another indication that advancement of this new settlement/neighborhood on Givat Hamatos continues to move forward at a heightened pace. In the coming months, wide-scale road construction and infrastructure works are expected to already begin. It is estimated that the building of housing units could commence within two years, even before completion of the infrastructure works.
In tandem, the legal petition Ir Amim filed in January on grounds of housing discrimination against Palestinians in the tender for 1257 housing units on Givat Hamatos is still pending. While the hearing on the petition was originally scheduled for May 27, the state requested the court postpone it to allow the relevant state authorities further time for deliberations and consideration of the matter. Ir Amim conditioned the hearing's deferment on freezing the application process for the subsidized housing scheme included within the tender, upon which the petition is centered. The court accepted this condition and rescheduled the hearing for October 20, 2021.
Although advancement of these plans is continuing at full throttle, it is still possible for the government to suspend construction as a result of concerted pressure and opposition. Legal provisions within the tender as well as within Israeli contract law grant the Israeli government the right to rescind contracts should it be within its interest. There is likewise legal precedent for such measures.
Har Homa E
On May 20, an official approval of the plan (TPS 285411) for 540 housing units in Har Homa E was published in a local newspaper following implementation of the requested amendments to the plan. As noted previously, the District Planning committee issued its decision on May 3 to approve the plan on the condition that a few minor modifications were made. Since the Har Homa E plan is designated for privately owned land, the planning process does not entail a tendering stage and in principal, the landowners can begin to apply for building permits.
However, it is worthwhile noting that the District Committee conditioned the procurement of building permits on the start of expansion of the access road to Har Homa E. Since the road's expansion is a municipal project, the timing of the work's commencement is unknown. In addition, construction of new sewerage infrastructure to serve the new neighborhood/settlement is necessary since the location does not border an existing built-up area. The timetable for such construction is likewise unknown.
Although the aforementioned issues can potentially postpone the building process, they are technical obstacles, and therefore should not be expected to block construction altogether. However, it should be noted that the decision to expand the access road is in the hands of the Israeli authorities; should they decide not to carry out the road expansion, it would inevitably obstruct housing construction in the area.