This morning (15/11/20), the Ministry of Housing and Israel Land Authority opened the tender (bidding process) for 1,257 housing units to be built in Givat HaMatos, by the publication of the “Tender Booklet”.
Construction in Givat Hamatos will severely hamper the prospect of a two-state solution because it will ultimately block the possibility of territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem–the main Palestinian metropolitan area–and will prevent Palestinian Beit Safafa from connecting with a future Palestinian state.
This move today represents the latest progression since February 2020 when the tender was published for 1,077 units out of the 2,610 Plan T for Givat HaMatos. Between then and today, 180 units were added to the tender. The meaning of the publication of the Tender Booklet is that now the tender is open for bids and contractors may submit their proposals to win the right to build the units in Givat Hamatos. The final day for submitting the proposals is January 18th, 2021, three days before the change in the US administration.
Peace Now: “This is a major blow to the prospects for peace and the possibility of a two-state solution. This Netanyahu-Gantz government was established to fight the coronavirus but instead it is taking advantage of the final weeks of the Trump administration in order to set facts on the ground that will be exceedingly hard to undo in order to achieve peace. This tender can still be stopped. We hope that those in this government who still have some sense of responsibility for our future will do what they can to cancel the tender before bids are submitted.”
Another change that was made in the tender was the type of tender in terms of how the units will be sold to the public. The original publication was of “Mechir Lamishtaken” (“Price to the Inhabitant”) and now it is in a new type of tender called “Mechir Mufhat” (“Reduced Price”). This change is insignificant in terms of the construction and the implementation of the tender (only to the way the houses are sold to potential buyers); however, because this “Reduced Price” is a new type of tender, the Israel Land Authority (ILA) still needs to sign off on it. The publication of the tender states explicitly: “Please note that the ILA Council decision regarding reduced price was yet to be signed and therefore there could be changes in the tender conditions including its cancellation.” We believe that this is not a significant change in terms of the political meaning and the implantation of the tender; however, this sentence in the publication might make it easier, legally, to the ILA to cancel the tender.
Earlier this week Ir Amim’s field worker visited the site and found that archeological works had started on the ground. These excavations are called “salvage excavations” which are required before any construction in Israel starts – to make sure that the future construction is not harming any potential archeological findings. This means that the money for the infrastructure works started to flow, and soon we might see the bulldozers beginning the works.