Israel’s Ministry of Housing recently submitted a building plan to the Jerusalem Municipality for the construction of 9,000 housing units at the site of the old Atarot Airport, northeast of Jerusalem, Peace Now said in a report on Tuesday.
The left-wing organization noted the new project is to be situated between the Arab neighborhoods of Kafr Aqab, Qalandiya and Ar-Ram in.
The old, abandoned airport, situated just north of the Atarot industrial zone, was established by the British in 1918.
It was shut down in 2000 following the outbreak of the Second Intifada at out of fear that the airport would be targeted by terrorism.
The filing of the construction plan is the first step in an approval process that is projected to take years before it receives final approval.
Peace Now noted that if the plan is approved and the project is built, it will be the first time Jerusalem receives a new neighborhood since the Netanyahu government established Har Homa in 1997.
The leftist organization accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of wanting to “strike another deadly blow to the prospect of a two-state solution” and claimed that the planned construction “drives a wedge in the heart of Palestinian urban continuity between Ramallah and East Jerusalem, thus preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.”
“Netanyahu is dragging Israel into a reality of a bi-national apartheid state and is putting the Zionist enterprise in jeopardy,” Peace Now charged.
President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled Deal of the Century peace plan stipulates that the area will remain under Israeli sovereignty, but Israel will allow the Palestinians to develop a tourist site for “Muslim tourism to Jerusalem and its holy sites.”
It is unclear if Israel’s planned construction in the area contradicts this clause in the Deal of the Century.