Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz revealed plans of the Israeli government to build more than 20 thousand settler houses near Jerusalem in addition to 500 housing units near Abu Dis east of Jerusalem.Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz revealed plans of the Israeli government to build more than 20 thousand settler houses near Jerusalem in addition to 500 housing units near Abu Dis east of Jerusalem.
Deputy head of the Jerusalem Municipal council, Joshua Pollack said this project will connect Jerusalem settlements with the Gush Etzion settlement bloc east of Bethlehem and other settlements in the north of the city.
On the other hand, Bibi Alow from the Israeli left wing party Meretz rejected the project saying that its only goal to provoke the Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem which may disturb the relatively calm city.
Israeli official voiced worries regarding the demographic balance in Jerusalem since Israel is always trying to keep the Jewish majority in the city that was created after 1967.
According to a study made by the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies, the birth rate among the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem is double the rate among the Israelis.
By the year 2020, Israeli will form 60 percent of the total population of the city with a drop of 6 percent, while Palestinians, who form now 34 percent, will become 40 percent in the same year, the study asserted. Palestinians, the study added, will become 50 percent by 2035.
On his part, Dr. Saeb Ereikat, chief Palestinian negotiator said, this Israeli plan of building more settlements in Jerusalem is seen as an official Israeli response to the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Arab initiative, which was launched in 2002, and reaffirmed in 2007, offers a full Arab recognition and normalization with Israel in exchange with a full Israeli withdrawal from the entire West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Ereikat added that “Israel on one hand demolish Palestinian homes and organizations in Jerusalem and on the other hand approves the building of three illegal settlements in East Jerusalem which jeopardizes the presence of the Indigenous Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in their city.”