Palestine: Israel plans to build 10,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AA): The Israeli government plans to build new 10,000 settlement units near Qalandia area in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli media.
Israeli Channel 13 reported that the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality plans to build the new settlement units on the land of the abandoned Jerusalem International Airport in Qalandia near the Israeli industrial zone known as Atarot.
The broadcaster, however, did not provide further details about the Israeli settlement plans.
Until 1967, the Jerusalem Airport, also known as the Qalandia Airport, was the only airport in the West Bank. When Israel occupied the territory, it restricted the use of the airport to only domestic flights before closing it completely in 2000.
“Israel seeks to build a new settlement on the land of the Jerusalem airport,” Khalil Tafakji, director of the cartography department at the Jerusalem-based Arab Studies Society, told Anadolu Agency in December 2020.
Built in 1920, the Jerusalem Airport was opened in 1924 by the British Mandate authorities. In 1936, the airport began to be used for regular flights.
“The airport was constructed on an area of 1,200 dunums (297 acres). The planned Israeli settlement will be built on most of the airport land,” Tafakji said.
Israeli rights group Peace Now said in a recent report that the Israeli authorities consider the airport lands as a state-owned territory, where it can build settlement homes without confiscating lands from Palestinian owners.
The group, however, said that some of the airport lands are privately owned by Palestinian individuals.
According to the NGO, the Israeli plan includes the demolition of dozens of Palestinian homes built in the area on the pretext of lack of construction permits.
“The demolition of Jerusalem Airport means that Israel will eradicate any chance for establishing the capital of the Palestinian state in East Jerusalem,” Tafakji stressed.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activities there illegal.
Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara
[Photo: Palestinians protest against building Jewish illegal settlements in Beita village of Nablus, West Bank, on October 1, 2021. Photographer: Nedal Eshtayah/AA]
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