In a similar tactic to the one used by settlers to establish new outposts, a house was built today by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists in the controversial E-1 area between the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and Jerusalem.
The house was built in protest of the plans to use the E-1 area in order to expand Ma’ale Adumim, in a way that will connect the large settlement to Jerusalem, and split the West Bank in two.
Requests for building permits made by Palestinians are regularly denied, and houses built in defiance to the Israeli occupation’s oppressive bureaucracy apparatus are very often demolished. Illegal settler construction is rarely treated with the same efficiency, even though permits are much easier for them to obtain.
Not recognizing Israel’s right to allow or deny Palestinians to build on their land, no attempt to obtain a building permit was made, and the house was predictably evicted in a few hours. Three Palestinian, five Israeli and three Swedish activists were arrested after barricading themselves inside the house and on its roof.
E1 is the hilly area between East Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim that Israel is intending to annex, to form a continuous urban development. Currently Israel is confiscating lands on the northern and western side of the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim just outside of Jerusalem. These confiscations (without compensation) are taking place from the Palestinian villages of Anata, Al-Izariyyah, Abu Dis and A-Zayim. The intention of this action is to expand the municipal area of Ma’ale Adumim westward to join up with Jerusalem. Currently, Ma’ale Adumim houses some 30,000 settlers. Under the E1 project an additional 5,600 more settlement homes for approximately 25,000 new residents will be added to its municipal area. Additionally, some 1,600 dunums of land are being confiscated to erect Israel’s Apartheid wall for Ma’ale Adumim.
This action would effectively destroy any future possibility of Palestinian contiguity by cutting off east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and by cutting of the northern part of the West Bank from the southern part. In addition land has recently been confiscated to build a road to connect the two Palestinian enclaves that will be created on both sides of the "settlement bloc".
When complete the total land area of Ma’ale Adumim and E1 will be 65,000 dunums, an area larger than Tel Aviv, in the heart of the West Bank.