Six-Day War 1967 | Cut – Block – Encircle | Geographical Strategy in Neighbourhood Planning
While the need of introducing Jewish settlement projects in the Eastern Jerusalem has been essential in the eyes of Israel Municipality, the location of them were carefully chosen to form the ‘rings of neighbourhoods’ to strengthen Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
While Palestinian construction has been severely restricted, Israel has built an “inner ring” of new suburban settlements after 1967– Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Neveh Ya’akov, Pisgat Ze’ev, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, East Talpiot, Har Homa, and Gilo. The underlying objective was to encircle the Palestinian neighbourhoods, to restrict their territorial expansion thus population growth and to cut off their connection from the West Bank region.
To strengthen Jewish presence in the Palestinian population concentrations, the government allocated settlements in the Muslim Quarter and around the Old City for predominately religious and ultra-nationalist Jews from 1987 onwards. The Housing Minister Ariel Sharon also took up residence in the Muslin Quarter in the Old City. The inner ring would ensure that Palestinians within the city would be isolated into small and disconnected enclaves.
Despite the Oslo negotiations that dealt, in part, with the future status of Jerusalem, the Israeli government in 1995 adopted the “Greater Jerusalem” Master Plan that includes an outer ring of Israeli settlements – Har Adar, Givat Ze’ev, New Givon, Kiryat Sefer, Tel Zion, the settlements to the east of Ramallah, Ma’aleh Adumim, Israeli building in Ras al-Amud, Efrat, the Etzion Bloc, and Beitar Illit – extending over more than 300 sq. km. of the West Bank (de Jong 2000). The goals of such a Greater Jerusalem were obvious: the construction of a Greater Jerusalem extending far into the West Bank could strengthen the settlement presence, secure Israeli domination over the entire central portion of the West Bank, and prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. The rationale is to create dense settlements to discourage future changes on armistice line due to no vacancy and unoccupied space. The increased connectivity within the region would reduce the likelihood that politicians would use the area as bargaining pawns.
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- Thawaba, Salem, and Hussein Al-Rimmawi. “Spatial transformation of Jerusalem: 1967 to present.” Journal of Planning History 12, no. 1 (2013): 63-77.
- Yiftachel, Oren, and Haim Yacobi. “Planning a bi-national capital: should Jerusalem remain united?.” Geoforum 33, no. 1 (2002): 137.