Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Initiating a Large Settlement

How much does the public know about the history of the settlement project? Precious little, actually, in spite of the endless talk about it in the media and in political and diplomatic discourse. (Google "West Bank Settlements" and you get more than 9,000,000 results.) Just about none of this verbiage, however, is based upon the documentary records created by the officials who did the job; we can say this since we're the ones doing the declassification, and we haven't declassified much of the relevant stuff yet. Not as a pattern of concealment, either, simply a matter of declassification priorities.

Recently, we went looking for the origin of the E-1 moniker, and came up with this post. Today we'd like to share a few earlier documents from the same file (גל-15482/11).

The first document (pp. 7-8) is a memorandum sent on Dec. 1, 1980 by Z. Barkai, the head of the Programs Division in the Ministry of  Construction and Housing, to A. Tayar, head of the Jerusalem  region in the ministry. Barkai summarizes recent discussions at the top civil-servant level of the ministry - which Tayar probably also participated in - about strategic planning for the Jerusalem region:
1. By early 1983, the ministry will have exhausted its current construction capacity in Gilo, Ramot, and East Talpiot (all in what's called East Jerusalem).
2. Manchat and Givat Masua (West Jerusalem) are being planned, and will enable about two years of construction.
3. South Neveh Yaacov is in planning. We forsee construction there for about 5-6 years after 1982. (Presumably this means what is now called Pisgat Zeev.)
4. Giv'on is being planned. Should be available for construction in 1982.
5. In Maaleh Adumim, we forsee construction of 1,000 housing units annually for the next 5-6 years.

1. Accommodating the master plan for Jerusalem calls for 5,000 new units annually, of which 3-3,500 need to be built by the ministry.
2. Ministry construction must bolster the stature of Jerusalem (as an Israeli city, he implies).

Conclusions from the above:
1. Priority should go to construction which promotes the political goals. Ergo, Masua and Manachat (in West Jerusalem) are less important than elsewhere.
2. Giv'on needs to be promoted.
3. Since the current options will be exhausted before the end of the decade, we must identify new ones now.
4. A planning group is to be set up to find large-scale construction potential north of Jerusalem, which will operate along the following guidelines:
a. Easy daily commuting.
b. At least 2,000 units, so as to justify development of local services.
c. State-owned land will be preferred where possible.
d. Reasonable development costs.
e. Easy access to Jerusalem but also Ramle-Lod in the west or Maaleh Adumim in the east.

Scope: Assuming an east-west line through the center of Jerusalem and looking north, the area is to be identified between 09:00-15:00, up to a radius of 12-15 km.

A steering committee will be set up with myself as chair and yourself as director. The General Manager will send out a letter of accreditation. This document will serve as the launching document.
We'll talk about the next stage in this process tomorrow...

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