IDF hearing on E1 settler homes delayed in advance of Biden’s trip

This is the second delay of this sort. The hearing was first meant to be heard in January.

The E1 territory, located outside of Jerusalem and within the jurisdiction of the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The E1 territory, located outside of Jerusalem and within the jurisdiction of the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

The Civil Administration hearing on the contentious plan to build 3,412 settler homes in E1 – the designation for a section of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement – has been delayed until September 12th.

The hearing on objections to the plan had been scheduled for July 18, just days after US President Joe Biden scheduled his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories for July 13 and 14.

It is the second delay of this sort. The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria had originally intended to hear objections to the plan in January.

That January hearing was canceled under pressure from the Biden administration, which opposes the E1 project as it does all settlement construction.

US Ambassador Tom Nides had spoken publicly of the US role in removing the plan from the council’s agenda.This particular project has been of particular concern to the US and to the international community in general because it fears that the project would harm the feasibility of a Palestinian state.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for a flight to Los Angeles this week. If Biden is coming to the Mideast to criticize and slow Israeli building in Judea and Samaria and greater Jerusalem, pull back, says the writer. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS) US PRESIDENT Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One for a flight to Los Angeles this week. If Biden is coming to the Mideast to criticize and slow Israeli building in Judea and Samaria and greater Jerusalem, pull back, says the writer. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

Israel has also been blunt about the plan’s geopolitical importance, explaining that the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and the E1 project were necessary to preserve Jerusalem as the united capital of the Jewish state.

Democrats, activists oppose E1 project

In advance of the July hearing, 29 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, asking that the US ensure cancellation of the hearing. The letter was organized by US Representatives Mark Pocan and Jan Schakowsky.

“The Israeli government must stop any effort to build settlements in the E1 area of the West Bank. Period,” Pocan tweeted. He urged Blinken to “hold firm and work with Israel to prevent any expansion in this region.”

The left-wing group Peace Now, which opposes the E1 project, called on Prime Minister Yair Lapid to freeze the plan and cancel any future hearings.

It is presumed that the civil administration would not accept the objections and would advance the project to a final hearing for validation.

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett had supported E1 construction, as had his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu. Lapid, in contrast, has opposed the E1 project, even though he supports Ma’aleh Adumim and the settlement blocs in general.

Given Lapid’s views, Peace Now called on him to freeze the project rather than merely delay the hearing. “[The E1] plan eliminates the prospect of a territorial continuity for a future Palestinian state,” Peace Now said.

“Anyone who supports a political solution must stop” the E1 project, Peace Now tweeted.

The group told Lapid that the fate of the project “is in your hands” and stopping it is “in your mandate.”

“We are depending on you,” Peace Now added.