If you can't see this newsletter properly click here

 al-Walaja: "Greater Jerusalem" comes closer to reality with new spate of demolition orders

Last week Israeli local and district courts rejected appeals against demolition orders for 14 housing units in the Jerusalem annexed portion of al-Walaja (see area north of blue municipal line), also known as Ein al-Jwaiza.  The courts ruled that the demolitions can be executed as early as this coming Thursday, August 10.  

According to the al-Walaja Council, demolition orders for 52 homes in Ein al-Jwaiza –roughly 50% of the homes in the annexed part of the village – are currently in some stage of court proceedings.

Since April 2016, Israeli authorities issued roughly 30 demolition orders in Ein al-Jwaiza, during which time 9 housing units were demolished in the village.  Attorneys representing the families whose homes are at imminent risk (above referenced 14 units) have submitted requests to appeal the decisions; at best, such requests normally delay demolitions while ultimately resulting in rejection of appeals.

In parallel, over the last few weeks Israeli authorities have come close to finishing construction of the Separation Barrier around the periphery of the village.  There are now just several hundred meters left to be completed for the Barrier to reach the al-Walaja bypass road, which connects Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.  That connection has already been fortified by the construction of a six lane highway through the heart of Beit Safafa that links the Tunnel Road  to the Begin Highway.

Plans are now being made to move the al-Walaja checkpoint from its current location inside Jerusalem to the intersection of the Barrier and the road, which would leave 1,000 dunams of al-Walaja agricultural lands on the Israeli side of the Barrier and checkpoint. Four years ago Israel declared the area as a national park and over the last two years has been constructing a visitor center around Ein Haniya – a large spring central to both the area and community life.

Developments in al-Walaja must be seen in the context of a much larger campaign to consolidate the southern perimeter of Jerusalem. Over the last several years, Israel has steadily promoted plans toward this end, including ongoing expansion of Har Homa and Gilo; approval of plans in Givat Hamatos, which would supplant Har Homa as the newest settlement in East Jerusalem; and construction of the six lane highway through residential Beit Safafa, which serves to further disrupt contiguity between East Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area while reinforcing the connection between settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

All of these actions are punctuated by the national park plan, which will add a final layer of isolation around al-Walaja and strengthen the connection between Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc - one of the three major blocs, including Ma’ale Adumim/E-1 and Givat Ze’ev - that comprise Israel’s vision of a “Greater Jerusalem”.   That vision - the de facto annexation of these blocs to the city - has now been concretized in a bill of the same name currently being promoted by the prime minister.  If successful, the Israeli government would more than double the area of the city, radically alter its demographic balance, and render a two states solution completely unviable. 

Please address all inquiries to:

Betty Herschman

Director of International Relations & Advocacy

Ir Amim (City of Nations/City of Peoples)





Facebook: www.facebook.com/IrAmimEng

Twitter: @IrAmimAlerts


If you wish to unsubscribe click here
This newsletter was generated on Altro