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Planned settlement in East Jerusalem an attempt to negate Palestinian claims to their capital, researchers say

April 29, 2008 12:08 P.M. (Updated: April 29, 2008 12:08 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - A new illegal Israeli settlement planned in occupied East Jerusalem is a part of a plan conceived by former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon to negate Palestinians claims to Jerusalem as their capital, researchers in Jerusalem are saying.

On Monday, Israeli and Palestinian media reported that the Israeli police will allow right-wing settlers to take up residence in a former police station in East Jerusalem's Ras Al-Amoud neighborhood. The site of the police headquarters will become the nucleus of a new settlement called "Ma'ale David."

According to the Mapping and GIS Department of the Arab Studies Society, a research center in Jerusalem, Israeli planners have already approved the construction of a the new settlement.

Maps obtained by the Arab Studies Society show a plan for 110 housing units on approximately 10 dunams of land. The approved buildings will be up to ten stories - far higher than those that currently stand on the site.

Khalil Tukfaji, of the Mapping and GIS Department of the Arab Studies Society, member of Civic Coalition for Jerusalem, said:

"This is one of the settlements inside the Palestinian communities, and part of the Israeli plan to unite East and West Jerusalem, so that it can never be taken apart, preventing East Jerusalem from ever becoming the Palestinian capital.

"This was one of Mr Sharon's plans when he was Minister of Housing in 1990. He was calling for the construction of 26 of what he called 'gates' inside East Jerusalem - Israeli settlements inside Palestinian communities. Five of them have now been built."

Of the 26 so-called 'gates,' researchers say, five have already been constructed or are under development: in Ras Almoud, in Jabal Mukabber, on the Mount of Olives, in Sheikh Jarrah, and Kadamat Etzion in the town of Abu Dis.

The police, meanwhile, plan to move into a new building in the controversial E1 Area, which connects Jerusalem with Ma'ale Adummim, the largest settlement in the West Bank. The E1 plan, Palestinian officials say, will sever the West Bank into two, annexing land as far east as Jericho to Israel's greater Jerusalem.

The Israeli military occupied East Jerusalem in June 1967 along with the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The United Nations, European Union, and the United States consider East Jerusalem occupied land.

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