By: Esteban Carrillo
An Israeli planning committee approved plans on 14 October to build thousands of homes in the illegal settlement of Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem.
If built, this would become the first Jewish settlement in 20 years to be built in occupied East Jerusalem, and the first ever beyond the 1967 armistice line.
The announcement came one day after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC.
The Biden administration has previously spoken out against the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. However, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has said multiple times that his government has no plans to stop these expansions.
Experts believe that, once completed, the Givat Hamatos settlement will effectively split the West Bank in half, isolating Palestinians who live in occupied East Jerusalem and making a two-state solution virtually impossible.
EU officials condemned the Bennet administration’s plans for the construction of additional housing units in Givat Hamatos earlier this year, saying that the plan would “undermine the negotiations for a two-state solution.”
The Israeli settlement in Givat Hamatos is located beyond the 1967 Green Line, on lands which were seized from the Palestinian towns of Beit Safafa in the Jerusalem governorate, and Beit Jala in the Bethlehem governorate.
The construction plans approved on Wednesday would effectively cut off Beit Safafa from surrounding Palestinian villages and the rest of Jerusalem.