‘Replacing Jerusalem Airport With Settlement Projects Impedes Two State Solution’
In an attempt to place a noose around the Palestinians’ neck, Israel is planning to replace the international airport of Jerusalem with a large settlement project. According to one of Jerusalem’s municipal committees, Israel is planning to build around 9,000 homes, mostly designated for Jews. The Jerusalem airport, formerly known as Qalandia airport, is the oldest Palestinian airport, connecting the cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem. The airport was built in the 1920s during the British Mandate.
After it occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 1967, Israel seized the airport and established commercial and domestic flights from and to Jerusalem, based on the so-called Jerusalem law. International officials believe that the project is expected to impede the two-state solution.
Peace Now, a non-governmental organization said the project lies in the middle between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Hence, it aborts the dreams of the Palestinians to have an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the future capital.
“The other three projects are the east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa, plans to build a new Jewish neighborhood in Givat Hamatos and the E1 project near Ma’aleh Adumim,” Tovah Lazaroff, the Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post writes.
“Construction in any of these projects, “let alone their combined effect, will fragment the integrity of Palestinian Jerusalem and add to existing obstacles to a Palestinian capital in the city, thereby diminishing the prospects for a future two-state solution,” the left-wing NGO Ir Amim said Sunday.
Though the Biden Administration has repeatedly warned the Israeli government of taking any unilateral actions that could impede the peace process, it has not put any forward initiative to preserve the rights of the Palestinians.
The project constitutes a headache to the left-wing in the coalition government as well. Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of Israel, who is known for his antagonistic approach towards the Palestinian file, supports the project. On the other hand, the left-wing flank of the government, compromising Ra’am (United Arab List) and Mertez, has opposed it.
The United Nations and the European Union have condemned Israeli ill-treatment of Palestinians. Nonetheless, no real change has happened on the ground. Israel announces every week its plan for constructing new settlements. In other words, increasing the number of Jews, while decreasing the number of Palestinians, is the main priority for Israel.
According to Amnesty International, Israel has committed war crimes: the illegal detention of Palestinians, the unlawful killing of innocent civilians and children, in addition to enforcing its blockade on the Gaza Strip.
A survey conducted in the US shows that a satisfying number of Americans perceive Israel as an apartheid state. Among respondents to the survey commissioned by the Jewish Electorate Institute, a group led by prominent Jewish Democrats, 34% agreed that “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is similar to racism in the United States,” 25% agreed that “Israel is an apartheid state” and 22% agreed that “Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.