The Israeli occupation is hastening to complete the Greater Jerusalem project, which extends over 10% of the West Bank and separates its north from its south, in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.
A research study revealed new details about the Israeli settlement projects in the Palestinian territories and their developments related to the areas of confiscated lands, the number of settlers, and the spread of the Israeli army camps in the territories occupied in 1967.
The study – prepared by researcher and academic Firas Al-Qawasmeh and published by the Istanbul-based Vision Center for Political Development – showed that major settlement projects in Jerusalem intend to transfer major settler population blocs to the heart of the city, and strengthen control over large areas of land by spreading outposts, army barracks and road networks. That cut off the road to geographical contiguity between the Palestinian territories.
The researcher explained that in his study – which he published under the title “Settlement Projects in Jerusalem Governorate” – he relied on a number of reliable sources and studies, and analyzed secondary data from interactive maps and numbers; To come out with explanatory conclusions that facilitate understanding for the reader.
A history of wandering
The study revealed that most Jerusalemites live in areas classified as “B” areas, which represent less than 9% of the governorate’s lands according to the “Oslo” agreement, while most areas of Jerusalem are classified as “C” areas, which are the ones that gave Israel administrative control And full security on it.
The study showed that the most dangerous settlement projects were launched after the occupation of Al-Aqsa Mosque and East Jerusalem in 1967, especially the “metropolitan” Greater Jerusalem project, which controls 10% of the West Bank and separates its northern and southern parts, as well as the Apartheid Wall project that isolated around 150,000 people. A Palestinian outside the Jerusalem municipality boundaries, and annexed 3 settlement blocs to the Jerusalem borders, which are Maale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev and Gush Etzion.
Al-Qawasmeh says in an explanation to Al-Jazeera Net that 161,000 settlers live in the three aforementioned settlement blocs, in addition to the presence of about 236,000 settlers in East Jerusalem (within the municipal boundaries).
The research pointed to the seriousness of the “E1” project, which prevents any geographic contact between Palestinian communities east of Jerusalem. It also monitored 11 settlement outposts and networks of complex roads that penetrate the lands of the city.
Jerusalem represents a link between the most important bypass roads that cross the West Bank from north to south, and from east to west, such as Street No. 60 and Street No. 1.
The study reviewed the Israeli military bases in Jerusalem, which reached 8, as well as the military checkpoints, which reached 13, confirming the danger of the occupation’s policies in judaizing the city and changing its demographic, geographical and historical composition.
Jerusalem is the center of control
The western part of Jerusalem – which covers an area of 54 square kilometers – fell into the hands of Israel after the Nakba in 1948, while East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, was occupied in the setback of June 1967, and the occupation expanded the borders of “East Jerusalem” from 6.6 to 72 square kilometers, bringing the area of the Jerusalem municipality, which is administered by the Israeli occupation authorities, to 126 square kilometers.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Qawasmi explained that the Greater Jerusalem project that was launched from this ground is based on two scenarios: The first is the current one, and aims to annex 3 major settlement blocs surrounding East Jerusalem, and it is from the east the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc, which includes 8 settlements, and 49 settles in it. A thousand settlers. And from the northwest, the Givat Ze’ev bloc, which includes 5 settlements, and 26,000 settlers. From the south, the Gush Etzion bloc, which includes 14 settlements, contains 86,000 settlers.
He adds that these three blocs, in addition to East Jerusalem, together constitute approximately 4.5% of the area of the West Bank, and the Apartheid Wall in Jerusalem was built on the borders of these three blocs.
As for the second scenario, it is – according to Qawasma – the most dangerous, which is also called the “Greater Jerusalem Project” (metropolitan area), and aims to annex other lands surrounding these three blocs and extending over lands from Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, and the area of this plan is what Approximately 10% of the area of the West Bank amounting to 5,655 square kilometers.
For his part, the head of the Vision Center for Political Development, Ahmed Atawneh, says that the recent acceleration of Israeli settlement projects in general, and in the city of Jerusalem in particular, is consistent with its policies supported by the United States of America, especially during the era of former President Donald Trump, who encouraged control over the largest area. It is possible from the West Bank and finally annexing it to Israel.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Atawneh pointed out that this policy aims – mainly – to undermine the idea of establishing a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, that is, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the one hand, and on the other hand, removing the city of Jerusalem from the arena of settlement or negotiations. Or any political equation that would offer a solution to the Palestinian issue.
It shows that the Israeli political system, with all its parties and entities, is united on excluding Jerusalem from any political path with the Palestinians, and therefore this acceleration of settlement projects aims to establish a de facto reality that Jerusalem is a fully united Jewish city, and it cannot be divided or any part of it can be handed over to the promised Palestinian state.
He also believes that accelerating settlement activity is part of the total projects of the occupation, as it is a settlement project based on changing the demographic structure in Palestine.