RAMALLAH, May 4 (JMCC) – A Palestinian expert said Monday that a new Israeli plan to construct 200,000 new settlement
units in Jerusalem
will eliminate the prospects for a Palestinian state.
“The new scheme will occupy all the land that is supposed to be the future Palestinian state including the strip of road between the towns of Bethlehem
, which will isolate the northern West Bank
from the center and the south,” said Khalil Tufakji, director of the Maps department at the Arab Studies Society.
Tufakji was responding to a report published Monday in the Jerusalem Post
. According to the newspaper, a private benefactor, Land of Israel Fund founder Arieh King, seeks to build 200,000 settlement housing units in eastern Jerusalem.
King said that unless Jerusalem is expanded to the east it will “become the Gaza Strip.”
Tufakji warned that these plans would mean that Israel
would annex ten percent of the West Bank into Jerusalem’s borders.
He estimated that an additional 200,000 housing units would add 800,000 settlers to the city, in addition to the 250,000 Israeli settlers who currently live in the eastern area occupied by Israel in 1967.
Tufakji said the project was already incorporated into the municipality's Jerusalem 2020 planning scheme, and that its implementation would mean the doubling of the city’s population.
“The seriousness of this project is that will be carried out through charitable institutions owned by King, and not the Israeli government – although the government will supply support and facilitation.”
Tufakji said that the plan would be phased, but completed before 2020.