SILWAN (Dispatches) – Palestinian homeowners and observers fear that the al-Quds municipality, with the support of Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is preparing to raze a significant number of Palestinian homes in the city over the coming weeks.
New parliamentary elections in the occupied territories set in March and outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s last days in the White House could hasten such a move.
"There’s a lot of pressure from the extreme right both within the city and on the national level to take advantage of the remaining time,” Laura Wharton, an al-Quds municipal councilor, told Al Jazeera.
Wharton estimates the number of standing demolition orders in East al-Quds is as high as 30,000. However, she does not foresee all of them to be at imminent risk.
In 2020 alone, the United Nations recorded 170 demolitions in East al-Quds alone and 644 in Area C of the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian non-governmental organization says the Zionist regime has pressed forward with plans for the construction of thousands more settler units in the occupied West Bank, making 2020 a record year for illegal settlement building activities.
The director of the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (al-Quds) (ARIJ), Jad Isaac, told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the occupying regime’s authorities endorsed plans for 10,000 more units in various parts of the West Bank this year, in addition to the legalization of dozens of settlement outposts.
Isaac added that these approvals make 2020 the highest year on record in terms of units in settlement plans.
He highlighted that Israeli officials seek to impose ‘sovereignty’ on more Palestinian lands, convert occupied West Bank towns and cities into isolated cantons and connect illegal settlements together, all of which represent an apartheid system.
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah on December 28, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the international community to put a stop to the regime’s settlement plans in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has censured the Zionist regime over attempts to change the geographic and demographic character of occupied al-Quds, saying such bids are doomed to failure.
Hamas made the remarks in a statement on the new railway project that the Zionist regime has started to connect its illegal settlements in al-Quds with Tel Aviv and other occupied areas.
In its statement, Hamas condemned the al-Quds rail project as "a new colonial project that is part of the settler Judaization projects.”
Hamas said the project is indicative of the regime’s insistence on imposing faits accomplis of all forms on the ground and its determination to go ahead with its Judaization plans.