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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Israel announces tenders for 1,400 new housing units in West Bank, Jerusalem

by Barak Ravid            Haaretz         10 January 2014

600 settlement units planned for East Jerusalem, 800 for West Bank; Netanyau's announcement preempts protests by right-wing hardliners in his government. (It also makes a joke of any kind of acceptable peace agreement-Ed) 

Construction site in the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit.

Construction site in the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit. Photo by AP

The Housing Ministry announced Friday morning new tenders for 1,400 housing units in settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The announcement was made three weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to launch a new wave of settlement construction parallel to the third step of Palestinian prisoner release.

Tenders were released for the construction of 600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Jerusalem, which lies over the Green Line, and a further 801 units in settlement blocs in the West Bank.

Israel will build 227 housing units in Efrat, 78 in Alfei Menashe, 86 in Karnei Shomron, 40 in Ariel, 75 in Adam, 24 in Beitar Illit, 102 in Immanuel and 169 in Elkana.

In addition, tenders were released for the construction of 532 units in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, across the Green Line. The plots for these units were marketed in the past but found no buyers, and were now put back out on the market. These include 182 units in Pisgat Ze'ev, 294 in Ramot and 56 in Neve Yaakov.

Netanyahu delayed the tenders for over two weeks, until after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the region, but ahead of a an additional trip that's coming up. With this timing, Netanyahu likely aimed to avoid a delay of almost a month which might have cause the hardlines in his government to protest.

Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat denounced the new settlement tenders saying they show "Israel's clear commitment to the destruction of peace efforts and the imposition of an apartheid regime."

He called on the international community to take measures against the occupation in order to "protect and help to realize the two-state solution."

"[Israel's] announcement should also serve as a reminder to the international community to sever all ties with the Israeli occupation, including companies and institutions involved in the colonization of Palestine," Erekat said in a statement.

The Housing Ministry released the statement that Minister Uri Ariel is on an official visit to the United States, where he is slated to meet with representatives of Jewish communities and U.S. experts on public housing.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid responded to the announcement and called the tenders "devoid of substance," adding that the new construction is a bad idea and vowed his party will fight against it. 


EU protests to Netanyahu over planned wave of settlement construction

Follows PM’s announcement of 1,400 housing tenders to coincide with upcoming prisoner release.

by Barak Ravid        Haaretz           29 December 2013

A construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit, near Bethlehem

A construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit, near Bethlehem, December 26, 2013.Photo by Reuters

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel lodged a protest Sunday over the decision to the build 1,400 new housing units in West Bank settlements, which was announced as Israel prepares to release a third group of Palestinian prisoners Monday night.

It is unclear if Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen’s protest to the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry will be also be accompanied by EU action against Israel.

An Israeli official and a European diplomat said Faaborg-Andersen called Eran Lerman, Israel’s National Security Council official in charge of foreign policy, and expressed “deep concern” over the plan for a new wave of construction. He approached Foreign Ministry officials with the same concern. At the same time, the British ambassador in Israel, Matthew Gould, conveyed an identical message in talks with senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials.

A week ago, Haaretz disclosed that the ambassadors from Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy had met with the acting director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, and demanded that Israel not announce new construction in West Bank settlements to follow the release of the Palestinian prisoners. The ambassadors warned that if the peace process collapsed in the wake of a new announcement of settlement construction, the EU would place the blame on Israel.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to approve the publication of public tenders for the construction of 600 housing units in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, which is beyond the 1967 border, and another 800 units in the West Bank. The prime minister issued the announcement to coincide with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners who have been in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords, as he did in the two prior rounds of the four-phase prisoner release agreement.