Representatives of the European Union touring Givat HaMatos on Monday were chased away by pro-Israel activists led by Im Tirtzu.
On Sunday, the Israel Land Authority issued a tender for the construction of 1,257 housing units in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood, located in south Jerusalem, between the Har Homa and Gilo neighborhoods. According to the full plan, about 2,600 housing units will be built in the neighborhood in the first phase.
The tender for construction in the neighborhood was postponed for an extended period, dating back to 2012, when the district committee approved the plan to build about 2,600 housing units. The plan was suspended for years due to international pressures and the tender for the approved plan was never published.
On February 20, 2020, Prime Minister Netanyahu approved the establishment of the neighborhood. The announcement ceremony was attended by the PM, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, and Acting Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Ronen Peretz.
The publication of the tender could be interpreted as a planned slight to President-elect Joe Biden, reminding him of his last visit to Jerusalem back in 2010, as Vice President, when Israel welcomed him with news of establishing the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in northern Jerusalem, over the Green Line, with 1,600 housing units.
The European Union’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell asked Israel to cancel the plan, suggesting a Jewish enclave on Givat Hamatos would make it difficult to complete the future Palestinian State’s takeover of the Area C land between eastern Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
“The government of Israel should instead show vision and responsibility and reverse these negative decisions at this critical and sensitive time,” Borrell recommended, noting that the planned construction “will seriously damage prospects for a two-state solution in line with international law.”
And so on Monday morning, the EU sent a fact-finding team to the area, at which point the good folks from Im Tirtzu got involved.
Im Tirtzu said in a statement: “EU representatives together with members of radical-left Israeli NGOs came today to tell us where we can and cannot build in Jerusalem, our capital city. We came to tell the EU that Israel is not a colony – it is an independent country that does not take orders from them.”
Im Tirtzu added: “The Israeli government needs to send a similar message to the EU and ensure that these hypocrites stop harming Israeli sovereignty.”