Today, May 17, 2023, a discussion was held at the subcommittee for settlements in the Civil Administration to promote the planning of 555 residential units, 554 at Givat Ze’ev (554) and 1 at Itamar.
At the same time, a tender of the Ministry of Construction and Housing was re-published for the construction of 58 housing units at “Ariel West.” If successful, the tender will mark the initial construction of a larger plan to establish 1,200 housing units in a new settlement in the West Bank, adjacent to the Palestinian city Salfit and under the official guise of a neighborhood of Ariel settlement, despite it being about two kilometers distant from the settlement.
Peace Now:“It is clear that annexing the West Bank is the main agenda of the Israeli government. Promoting more than 600 housing units in settlements, among them a tender for the construction “Ariel West”, an entirely new settlement established under the official guise of a neighborhood an Ariel settlement, joins previous devastating annexationist decisions advancing annexation, made by the government, such the decision to legalise 15 outposts, the advancement of nearly 10,000 housing units in settlements, the cancelation of the disengagement law from the North part of the West Bank, the promotion of the apartheid road east of Jerusalem and the transfer of powers from the military to Minister Smotrich. Each decision alone demonstrates that the government is acting with an intention to annex the occupied territory, prevent the possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian State, and to escalate tensions between Palestinians and Israel.”
The subcommittee for settlements under the Higher Planning Committee in the Civil Administration has convened today, May 17, 2023, to approve the validation of a plan (2/9/200) for of 552 housing units at Givat Ze’ev settlement, located north of Jerusalem. Additional plans for two housing units at Givat Ze’ev (2/40/215) and for one housing unit at Itamar (163/3/4/a/2) are expected to be approved for deposit.
The plan for 552 housing units at Givat Ze’ev will enable the construction of residential buildings of up to 15 stories high, alongside a commercial district and public spaces. The plan was approved in the past, however tenders that were published for its construction failed to succeed. During the Bennet government, the plan was promoted once again in May, 2022, and was published for deposit in August, 2022. This time, however, the plan is being promoted without the need to publish a tender for its construction, and after a contactor was chosen without a tender. Hence, once the plan will be validated today, construction could begin shortly.
At the same time, a tender of the Ministry of Construction and Housing (368/2021) was reissued for the construction of 58 residential units at “Ariel West” settlement, adjacent to the Palestinian city Salfit. Officially, Ariel West is a neighborhood of Ariel settlement, however in actuality, a new settlement is being established. Ariel West is located about two kilometers from Ariel and it is adjacent to the Palestinian city Salfit. The current tender is the first stage of a plan for the construction of 1,200 housing units at the new site.
The tender that is being republished today is based on Plan No. 130/3/1, that was approved in 1991 for the construction of 1,600 residential units on land that was declared to as public land, authorwised termed by the government as “State land”. Officially, this is an area that is included in the jurisdiction of the settlement Ariel. However, Ariel West acts as a separate settlement from Ariel and is located outside of its fenced area. Hence, Ariel West is an initiative of the Ministry of Construction and Housing to de facto establish a new settlement, without the need of a government decision, using a decision from thirty years ago, prior to the Oslo Accords. [For a more expansive discussion of the manner in which the Ministry of Construction and Housing succeeded in promoting the building of a neighborhood which is a new settlement.] The planning encountered many obstacles, and these were circumvented by using questionable methods. For example, the entrepreneurs responsible for the new settlement discovered that the access road leading to it is located on private Palestinian land [for a more expansive discussion of the sleight of hand and creative planning tactics of the Ministry of Construction and Housing]. In spite of this, the plan for the road was given force and effect in November 2022, paving the way, both literally and figuratively, for the establishment of the new settlement.