East Jerusalem to get 75 new housing units for Jews

Jewish settlers celebrating - 75 new settlement units to be built in the Palestinian village of Beit Hanina

house being demolished in Beit Hanina

Akiva Eldar writes in Al Monitor, “Following years of hard work and with the help of God,” wrote settler and rabbi Aryeh King on Facebook, hailing the historic Sept. 5 decision by Jerusalem planning authorities to license the construction of 75 housing units for Jews in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina. The decision, announced with little fanfare, lays the foundation stone for the recently adopted nationality law, which anchors the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. For instance, it encourages Jewish-only communities and codifies the “national value” of Jewish settlement in the homeland of the Jewish people. After all, what is more of a national value than Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, the city enshrined by the controversial legislation as the capital of Israel? The move by the city’s Planning and Building Committee will allow the construction of 150 apartments in Beit Hanina. Half of these apartment are destined for Jews and half for Palestinians. The housing units for Jews are to be constructed on Palestinian land bought by Jews.”

“King, a city council member and activist who has been buying up Palestinian land for Jews, pledged that Arab Beit Hanina “would begin to Judaize, and hopefully soon become a neighborhood with a firm Jewish majority as befits the capital of the Jewish people.” Indeed, implementation of the plan would turn Beit Hanina into one of the largest Jewish settlements in Palestinian neighborhoods.”

approved settlement plans for Beit Hanina

“Nonetheless, the road to ‘Judaizing’ Beit Hanina is long and winding. Currently, 40,000 Muslims live there and only some 50 Jews. According to a study by the Central Bureau of Statistics published in July 2013 in the right-wing weekly Besheva, only 2,537 Jews lived in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods that Israel conquered in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Jerusalem taxpayers should know that the cost of guarding these Jewish residents in the heart of Arab neighborhoods runs to almost 100 million shekels ($29 million) a year.Even as the government and planning authorities are promoting construction plans for Jews in the eastern parts of the city, they ignore the dire housing shortage for the Arab residents of these neighborhoods. A 2017 report by non-profits Ir Amim and Bimkom illustrates how demographic considerations — a desire to expand the city’s Jewish population and limit the Palestinian one — underpin discriminatory urban planningdecisions.” (more…)

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