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Israel's East Jerusalem Linked Settlement Expansion

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Israel's East Jerusalem Linked Settlement Expansion - by Stephen Lendman

On February 1, 2009, the International Solidarity Movement reported that Israel continues its E 1 area homes and infrastructure work that includes linking its Ma'ale Adummim settlement with East Jerusalem and other settlements around it. It said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while in office, promised to expand E 1 development - the land northeast of Jerusalem, west of Ma'ale Adummim comprising about 12 square kilometers, all of it illegally annexed.

On November 15, 2009, the International Middle East Media Center reported that construction began in Ras al-Amud, Pisgat Ze'ev and elsewhere in East Jerusalem as part of Israel's scheduled 3,000 unit project.

On November 18, Al Jazeera headlined, "Israel moves to expand settlement," saying approval was given to construct 900 housing units in East Jerusalem's Gilo settlement.

Overall, Israel's E 1 Plan involves building about 15,000 new homes, a large industrial zone, hotels, other recreational facilities, a police station, garbage dump and more to be shared by Occupied Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adummim settlers.

Israel's 121 West Bank/East Jerusalem official settlements, another 100 so-called "unauthorized outposts," and 12 Israeli (de facto settlement) neighborhoods annexed to Jerusalem's municipal area are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating:

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupied Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."

In addition, UN Resolutions 446, 452, 465 and others condemned Israel's settlement building by declaring they have "no legal validity" to exist. Yet they do and keep expanding in defiance of the law.

B'Tselem is the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Bimkom, Planners for Planning Rights, helps communities throughout Israel and the West Bank "in matters concerning home demolitions, infrastructure and public services, local and neighborhood development plans, as well as the separation barrier....to strengthen democracy and human rights in the field of planning."

In December 2009, they jointly produced a report titled, "The establishment and expansion plans of the Ma'ale Adummim settlement: Spatial and human rights implications."

With 34,000 residents occupying 10,000 housing units, Ma'ale Adummim is Israel's largest settlement in land area and third largest in population (after Modi'in Illit and Beitar Illit). Expanding it will separate East Jerusalem Palestinians from other West Bank cities and villages, reduce any chance for a viable Palestinian state, and further confine them to isolated cantons on the Territory's least valued land, giving Israel unlimited control of the rest.

In 1999, B'Tselem published "On the Way to Annexation" explaining how Ma'ale Adummim's earlier development violated international law by expropriating Palestinian land and expelling Jahalin tribe Bedouins. After the Separation Wall construction began, the planned route leaves Ma'ale Adummin and smaller adjacent settlements on the Israeli side, creating a partition between the southern and northern West Bank sections. Additional E 1 development since then seized more land illegally, demolished Palestinian homes, and expelled their residents to more constricted areas.

The present report has two main objectives:

-- "to describe the spatial changes that have taken place" since the first publication and how they affect Palestinian human rights; and

-- "to examine these changes in light of the history of Ma'ale Adummim and the intentions that lead to its establishment."

Recently revealed Israeli documents show that in 1974 the first Rabin government secretly decided to annex Ma'ale Adummim to Jerusalem with no official announcement. Doing so, of course, is illegal. In March 1975, 3,000 hectares of village lands were seized. Several years earlier, the IDF commander declared most of these lands a closed military zone. In 1977, another 194 hectares were taken for future use plus 200 expropriated for roads and infrastructure. In total, it comprises 73% of Ma'ale Adummim's jurisdiction area. The rest is Israeli state property. In 1991, the settlement attained city status, the first one to do so.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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