Analysis |

East Jerusalem Project Could Bury Two-state Solution

Plans to build in Area E-1 would effectively bisect the West Bank and sever the physical link between the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Over the past year, the Jerusalem municipality and the state have promoted several projects in East Jerusalem that many observers believe reflect an Israeli desire to create territorial contiguity between the capital and Ma'aleh Adumim by building a new, controversial Jewish settlement in Area E-1. They include the declared establishment of a new national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus, of the new Israel Defense Forces colleges camp at the top of Mount Scopus and a new landfill for building waste near the Arab neighborhood of Isawiyah.

The enormous public works project to expand area roads and to complete construction of the separation barriers and the crossing points could also be seen as pointing to Israel's intentions to build in E-1 despite enormous international opposition.

The Israeli left and the U.S. administration view the planned establishment of the Mevasseret Adumim neighborhood in E-1 as the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. It would effectively bisect the West Bank and sever the physical link between the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem.

"E-1 is a binary settlement," says attorney Daniel Seidemann, who has been monitoring settlement construction in the Jerusalem region for years. According to Seidemann, the proponents of the construction seek to obviate the establishment of a viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state, while its opponents "recognize that a Palestinian state must be territorially contiguous, with a link to Jerusalem," Seidemann said, adding, "That is why this is the decisive battle over the feasibility of 'two states for two peoples.'"

An Israeli police station was built in E-1, and additional infrastructure has been laid down, but residential construction plans have been blocked repeatedly due to U.S. pressure.

A Palestinian works at a construction site in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, Sunday, March, 13, 2011.Credit: AP

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