In the year 2004, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem announced a new colonial plan to construct yet another illegal Israeli settlement north of Bethlehem within the illegally declared boundary of Jerusalem. The new settlement is called 'Giv’at Yael' and it is arranged to spread on nearly 4111 dunums of lands confiscated from the Bethlehem Western Rural communities: Beit Jala, Battier, and Al Walajeh northwest of Bethlehem Governorate out of which, 1766 dunums are located within Jerusalem illegal boundaries and 2345 dunums from Beit Jala, Battier and Al-Walajeh lands. The new settlement will work to fill in the missing link to tie the Israeli settlements across the southern part of Jerusalem with Gush Etzion settlements Bloc (southwest of Bethlehem Governorate). The proposed settlement of 'Giv'at Yael' will physically complete the ring of settlements that separate Jerusalem from Bethlehem and consequently from the West Bank’s southern territory, starting at Har Homa and on to northwest to Giv'at Hamatos to Gilo and Har Gilo, linking with the planned Giv’at Yael and continue further south to “Gush Etzion” settlements bloc. See Map 1
According to the Israeli plan, the settlement will have some 20,000 housing units and is set to accommodate more than 55,000 Israeli settlers in addition to commercial areas and recreational centers.
Frozen for Several Years
On September 27, 2009, the Israeli daily newspaper “Haaretz” revealed that efforts underway to approve the building of Giv'at Yael settlement in Al Walajeh village in the time the Israeli Municipality is going to approve the new master plan of the city of Jerusalem.
When the plan for the settlements where revealed few years back, Palestinian residents of Al Walajeh submitted an objection to the Israeli plan, as it will cause catastrophe to their community, which will split into two separate areas and also cause many houses to demolish.
However, with the Segregation Wall, the plan for the settlement was changed but continued to surround Al Walajeh and threaten dozens of houses with demolishing and appropriate land from Beit Jala.
Recently, as initiatives on the move to get the Giv'at Yael settlement project going again the Israeli authorities had offered issuing building permits for many of the Palestinians' built houses in the Al-Walajeh village that have received demolishing threats in exchange for their withdrawal of objection on the Israeli plan, but the resident had refused the Israeli offer. See map 2
The existence of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and their expansions are Illegal and contradicts with the international law rules, United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as 237 (1967), 271 (1969), 446 (1979), 452 (1979) ,465 (1980.
Resolution 446 March 22, 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories' .
In May 2001, the head of the International Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories said that settlements are 'equal in principle to war crimes'. (Note: 'The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a 'grave breach.' It's a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes', Rene Kosirnik, head of the ICRC delegation to Israel and the OPT, press conference 17 May 2001).