Expanding on the Jerusalem master plans of 2006 and 2008, the Jerusalem Planning Committee of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has released the text of a new ‘master plan’ which they are scheduled to approve in the coming weeks.The plan includes the large-scale expulsion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, to be replaced by Jewish neighborhoods and tourism centers. Even areas that had been previously designated as ‘green areas’, such as places like Ir David, in order to justify the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in those areas, have been re-designated as Jewish settlements in the new Jerusalem master plan.
The plan is subject to a public comment period of 60 days, after which it will go into effect and the Israeli government will implement all parts of the plan. Impacted Palestinians have no say, however, as they are unrepresented in the Israeli government or planning process.
The new Jerusalem master plan flies in the face of previous tentative steps taken by the Israeli government toward a partial settlement freeze, instead vastly expanding Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. The U.S. government had requested a settlement freeze last year, but then backed off from this request after the Israeli government refused to adhere.
Most of the planned development will take place in East Jerusalem, which is where the majority of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents live. In addition, this area is east of the ‘Green Line’, which was the border set between Israel and Palestine in 1967. Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups point out that this planned expansion violates international law and signed agreements with the Palestinians, as well as the ‘road map’, prepared as part of the peace process in 2000.