Thousand settlers spend weekend in E1 28Jun13 June 28, 2013

Alternative Information Centre     -    27 June 2013

E1_map Some 1,000 settlers from throughout the West Bank spent the weekend in the area between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, labelled E1 by Israel, in support of Israeli plans to build settlement housing there. Such construction would divide the West Bank and eliminate any possibility for a continuous Palestinian state in the area.

Prominent religious, community and political leaders attended a gathering on Saturday night in E1, professing their support of construction in the area. In addition to leading settler and religious figures from throughout the West Bank and Israel, Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon  and MK Tzachi Hanegbi, both from the Likud political party of Prime Minister Netanyahu, attended the gathering.

Immediately following November’s successful Palestinian move to upgrade PLO status in the United Nations to that of a non-member state, Israel announced construction of 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements, including in the E1 area.  A settlement in the E1 area, located between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, will further erode the geographic platform for a Palestinian state by dividing it into three separate blocs: the Gaza Strip, south West Bank and north West Bank. The impact for the Palestinian population living in and surrounding the area will be disastrous, as natural growth is prevented, the Palestinian communities will be isolated and depopulation will certainly occur.

Settlers had originally planned to come to E1 to stay, such that the weekend event was a step back from initial plans. Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) claims that Netanyahu has implemented a freeze on the issuance of new tenders for settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. While settlement construction in essence continues unabated with tenders already issued and construction already begun, perhaps this tension within Israel’s right-wing resulted in the changed plans.

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