Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that 2,200 additional housing units would be built in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem on Thursday, just two days after Peace Now reported that the approval process had begun for a 9,000 unit neighborhood in Atarot.
Netanyahu stressed that the neighborhood was established during term in 1997 and that there are now 40,000 residents in Har Homa. The additional units will make room for another 10,000 residents. The prime minister also approved plans to build 4,000 housing units on Givat HaMatos: 1,000 for Arab residents of Beit Safafa and 3,000 for Jewish residents.Givat HaMatos and Har Homa are both over the Green Line in east Jerusalem.
"Coexistence in peace in Jerusalem, a connected and built Jerusalem, we are connecting all the parts of the united Jerusalem, I removed the limits and here Jerusalem is built below us. They talk-We do," said Netanyahu.
NGO Peace Now called the decision to build on Givat HaMatos a "hard hit" to the two state solution. Givat HaMatos is the last point that could enable a continuous stretch of land from Bethlehem to east Jerusalem.
"A change in policy like this cannot pass in a transition government without a mandate from the public. This is another cynical elections exercise by Netanyahu who in every opportunity to bring in [Itamar] Ben Gvir from the right and to flatter his base above the interests of all the citizens of Israel," said Peace Now on Thursday.
The NGO called Netanyahu's announcement a "clear proof that he is doing everything in order to not achieve peace and to not lead to a resolution of the conflict."On Tuesday, Peace Now reported that the Construction Ministry filed a request last week for the construction of 9,000 Israeli homes in the The nonprofit organization Ir Amim called Netanyahu's announcement a "spin" for elections that will complete the cutting off of south-east Jerusalem from Bethlehem and the West Bank.Atarot area of northern Jerusalem.
The report came as the Transportation Ministry advances plans to extend the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed train to the Western Wall.
The new homes would be located between the Palestinian neighborhoods of Kafr Akab, Kalandiya and a-Ram in Jerusalem. The approval process for the request is expected to take years. If approved, this will be the first new neighborhood over the Green Line in Jerusalem since Har Homa was established in 1997.
“[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is asking to land another fatal blow to the chances of a two-state solution for two peoples,” said Peace Now. “The planned neighborhood places a wedge in the heart of the Palestinian urban sprawl that exists between Ramallah and east Jerusalem, and as such prevents the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. Netanyahu is leading Israel to the reality of a binational apartheid state and is putting the Zionist enterprise in jeopardy.”