After being postponed several times over the past few months
, on January 18, the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee is scheduled to discuss the plan (TPS 976597) for the expansion of the Nof Zion settlement
at the entrance to Jabal Mukabber. The plan, known as "Nof Zahav," calls for the construction of 100 new housing units and 275 hotel rooms. If approved, the plan will transform Nof Zion from an isolated settler enclave to a contiguous built-up extension of the neighboring Israeli settlement/neighborhood of East Talpiyot. Currently comprised of 95 residential units with some additional 200 units under construction, Nof Zion is slated to become the largest settlement in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem with a capacity of 400 housing units. See map below.
As reported previously, the Oz Police Station currently occupies part of the plot intended for the settlement expansion. A separate outline plan (TPS 773184) was initiated by the Israel Police and Jerusalem Municipality for the relocation of the police station in parallel to the promotion of the new settlement plan (TPS 976597). Moving the police station to a nearby lot would therefore free up the space for advancement of the “Nof Zahav” plan.
While the “Nof Zahav plan” is at its beginning stages, final approval of the outline plan to relocate the police station is expected at the District Planning Committee’s (DPC) internal discussion scheduled for tomorrow, January 17
. Objections submitted against the relocation plan were discussed in DPC sessions which took place in January
and December 2022, but no decision has yet to be handed down.
Ir Amim together with residents from Jabal Mukkaber were among those who filed objections. In its joint objection
, they cited misuse of the respective plot of land considering the acute shortage of public buildings (i.e. schools) in the area and the absence of a proper needs assessment for the community. Rather than allocating the open space to meet the public needs of the neighborhood, the authorities intend to utilize it for a massive military-like base on the edge of Jabal Mukkaber.
If the plan is ultimately approved and the police station is relocated, it will unequivocally pave the way for the expansion of the Nof Zion settlement.
While expansion of Nof Zion is being promoted as a private initiative by real estate developers, in practice, it could not have been carried out without state and municipal support. See our previous alert for further details.
Beyond its geopolitical implications, this is yet another example of the severe discrimination in urban planning and housing in East Jerusalem
. Despite the plan being designated for the entrance of Jabal Mukabber, it is not intended for the community’s development needs, but rather the expansion of a Jewish settlement in the middle of a Palestinian neighborhood. It should be noted that Jabal Mukabber has been among the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem with the highest number of demolitions per year.
For more analysis of the plan’s ramifications, see our previous alert.