The Israeli occupation authorities are considering the construction of 30 new settlement units inside the settlement neighborhood in the heart of al-Khalil. This decision is telling and could summarize the objectives of the plan to grant Israeli settlers autonomy over managing their affairs in the city.

The new Israeli plan includes the construction of two kindergartens, parking lots and other facilities, in addition to the conversion of caravans in Tel Rumeida to buildings and facilities.

Settlement expansion

The Israeli war minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told Haaretz that settlers in the heart of al-Khalil have the right to approve the expansion of settlements, as is the case in other settlements.

Lieberman claimed that settlement construction in the city of al-Khalil has been postponed and frozen for years.

He stressed that the project to expand and build housing units for settlers in the heart of al-Khalil has the support of the majority of ministers of the Israeli coalition government.

Supporting settlements

Al-Khalil settlement expert Abdel Hadi Hantash told the PIC reporter: “There is an Israeli plan to support settlement in al-Khalil, and the Israeli government will implement it in stages.”

This plan began by allowing settlers to carry out systematic attacks against Palestinians under the protection of the occupation forces, intensifying settlement construction and having control on adjacent Palestinian-inhabited areas, and establishing a municipal council that threatens the city of al-Khalil and the Palestinian neighborhoods, which will give the settlers unlimited powers.

Terror of Israeli settlers

Hisham Al-Sharbati, an activist defending the Old City of al-Khalil said: “The violence of the settlers and the protection of the Israeli army have prompted many Palestinian families to search for safe areas to live in, in the absence of protection for them.”

Despite this terrorism, many Palestinian families remain steadfast, defying settlers’ violence every day and paying the price for being there by putting their lives and that of their children at risk, in the neighborhoods of Tel Rumeida, Shuhada Street, Wadi Al Hussein, Wadi Al Nasari and near the Ibrahimi Mosque,” he said.

A serious threat

Issa Amr, the founder of Youths Against Settlements, warned against the danger of the new Israeli plan against al-Khalil, by building new settlement units and turning the caravans in Tel Rumeida into buildings.

He also warned against the establishment of a special council for the settlers in the heart of al-Khalil, because it will be at the expense of Palestinian citizens' lands and property, and it would further strengthen the terror of the settlers and their violence against our people.

Amr said: “Constructing 30 new housing units for Israeli settlers means bringing more settlers in and strengthening their presence in the city. This is very dangerous. What the Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida fear is converting the caravans into housing units, which are still unknown in terms of number, size, and location. This means more violence against the Palestinians.