A hearing on the Jerusalem-area E1 development project has once again been put on hold, for the umpteenth time.
The meeting of the Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration scheduled for later this month, in which construction in the so-called “E1” zone — has been postponed to June 12.
הישיבה במועצת התכנון העליונה שנקבעה להמשך החודש בנושא הבנייה ב-e1 נדחתה לעוד שלושה חודשים – ל-12/6. הממשלה התחייבה בפני הממשל האמריקני שלא לקדם בנייה חדשה בשטחים בתקופה הקרובה, כחלק מההבנות לאחר אישור אלפי יחידות הדיור בעקבות הפיגוע בירושלים, וכן במסגרת הבנות פסגת עקבה pic.twitter.com/N7JGXkSe7x
— Gili Cohen (@gilicohen10) March 12, 2023
The delay follows a commitment made by Israeli government officials to their American counterparts to freeze any new construction in post-1967 territories for a period of three to six months, as delineated in the Aqaba Agreement signed in February 2023.
The Aqaba Agreement followed the approval for construction of thousands of housing units in response to a series deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.
Some 10 people were killed in those attacks, including two young brothers and a 14-year-old boy.
But this is not the first, or the second, or even the third time the E1 project has been put on hold, and each time the cause can be traced back to the United States.
Last year, the Israeli government caved to a request by Washington not to take any “provocative measures” in Judea and Samaria ahead of a July 13, 2022 visit to Israel by US President Joe Biden.
At that time, a scheduled July 18 discussion by the Higher Planning Committee to review approval of the construction of nearly 3,500 units in the E1 corridor, which would connect the city of Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem, was taken off the agenda and postponed to a September session — which was then postponed again.
The subject of E1 was also pulled from the committee’s order of business back in February 2022. Diplomatic pressure from the United States has been the cause of the delays.
The E1 zone lies within the municipal boundaries of the city of Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem. The construction plan for the area, which includes 3,412 housing units, was submitted to the subcommittee by the Netanyahu government shortly before national elections in 2020, which resulted in the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government.