The Ministry of Housing today announced a new date for the opening of the tender to build 1,077 housing units in Givat HaMatos, East Jerusalem (Plan #14295) – a plan that could cripple the chance for a two-state solution, even if there will be a recommitment by the parties to move forward on achieving it. The Ministry announced that bids could be submitted between 2 August 2020 (opening date) and 7 September 2020 (closing date).
This tender was originally published in February by a caretaker government, which did not receive a mandate in the two previous elections. The original date to open the tender was scheduled for 3 May 2020 and to close on 22 June 2020 but has ever since been delayed. Today, the new government, which includes members of Blue and Wight party who vowed to support the two states solution, is actually renewing the tender by not freezing or annulling it.
Construction in Givat Hamatos is considered a red line among many because it would sever the connection between East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods of Beit Safafa and Shurafat from nearby Bethlehem. In 2014, Israel attempted to promote construction in Givat HaMatos, but relented after it attracted stiff opposition from the United States and widespread international criticism.
Peace Now: “Promoting construction in Givat HaMatos is a dangerous step that could ultimately cripple the prospect of peace and a two-state solution. Netanyahu published the tender while in a probational government, without a mandate.The new government must abolish this disaster and stop the tender. It is sad to see that parties in the government which received the votes of the peace camp are giving a hand to move this plan along instead of annulling it for the sake of Israel’s future.”