The Jerusalem Municipality decided to transform a police station in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud in Jerusalem into a settlement outpost, and approved the construction of 14 units that would become the base for a new settlement.Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the “Shai” police headquarters were moved to the E-1 area between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim settlement, and that the building in question was given to a religious settler group that allegedly “proved ownership of the place”.
The new units will be built across the road of Maaleh Zeitim settlement, the largest Israeli settlement built in Arab neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Maaleh Zeitim settlement, inhabited by more than 100 families, was built with the help of an American-Jewish businessman identified as Irving Moskowitz, one of the biggest supporters of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
A settlement financing group, known as The Buhkran Trust, have plans to build 104 apartments for Jewish israeli settlers around the Police compound, and had submitted its plan to the Jerusalem Municipality 32 months ago.
But the new and larger settlement plan includes building a synagogue, a number of kindergartens, a swimming pool and an overpass that would link it with a settlement outpost that houses 200 Jewish families in Ras al-Amoud neighborhood.
Ir Amin organization, an Israeli group that opposes settlement construction in the occupied territories, slammed the decision, and said that this decision is one of many “dangerous plans advanced by the City Council in a manner that will irresponsibly harm vital public interests”, Israeli daily, Haaretz reported.
Yosef Alalu, member of the Meretz Party and opposition city council member, said that the public building could have been used as a school or other facility that could solve some of the problems in East Jerusalem.
He added that the municipality instead decided to “Judaize Ras al-Amoud instead of solving its problems”, Haaretz said.
But the Jerusalem municipality stated that the plan was presented by a group of investors in December of 2009, and was granted all needed permits. The plan was also approved by the Planning and Construction Committee at the municipality.
The municipality claims that the plan in question is about transforming the old police stations into a residential building.
East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories Israel occupied following the 1967 six-day war. In 1980, Israel issued the so-called “Jerusalem Law” declaring Jerusalem “complete and united” as its capital.
The law comes in direct violation to the International Law and several resolutions by the United Nations and the Security Council as the city is part of the Palestinian territories illegally captured by Israel in 1967.
The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian State, while on the ground, Jewish settlements have completely surrounded the occupied city, have been built and expanded in the Old City itself, as well as most parts of the city.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, also signed by Israel, settlements are illegal as the convention states that an occupying power cannot move all or part of its population into territories it occupies.