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Resource: What is the E1 area, and why is it so important?

In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the Israeli government has decided to promote zoning plans for the area known as E1, northeast of Jerusalem. The project is intended to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega-settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin, thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible. 

By Ir Amim

E1 (derived from “East 1”) is a term applied by the Ministry of Housing to an area located just east of the Jerusalem municipal boundary, on the hills between Ma’aleh Adummim and Jerusalem. It lies north of the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adummim road and edges the Palestinian towns of Anata, Abu Dis, Azariya and A-Zayim. E1, which covers some 12,000 dunams (12 sq. kilometers), is part of the planning area of Ma’aleh Adummim. The main artery between the northern and southern West Bank runs through E1.

In recent years, Israel has begun building and settling the area. The development plan for E1 includes the transfer of the West Bank (Judea & Samaria) Police Headquarters from its present location, and the construction of at least 3,500 residential units, a large commercial center, and more. Plans for the E1 area make no reference whatsoever to the local Palestinian population.

Construction in the E1 area commenced in 2004 under the direction of Housing Minister Efi Eitam. The work was illegal because no building permit had been issued. As a result of international pressure, construction was halted a short time after it began.

At the beginning of 2005, the Ma’aleh Adummim municipality approved two detailed urban plans for the development of the area, as mentioned above: one for approximately 3,500 housing units (apartment buildings and villas), and the second for the transfer of the police headquarters. The plan generated harsh criticism from the American government and the European Union. Both demanded that the plan be frozen, on the grounds that it violated Israel’s commitments according to the ‘Road Map.’ Instead, they maintained that the future of this territory be decided upon by a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Following this pressure, the Israeli government froze the project in 2004. However, building of the police headquarters was continued on the grounds that, like army bases, the police station would not be seen as creating facts on the ground, but rather as a building that could be removed.

On November 2012, following the Palestinian statehood bid, the Netanyahu government announced that it will promote a zoning plan for E1 which will allow the construction of 3000 housing units for Jews.

Here is the planned construction area for E1:

As can be seen in this regional map, construction at E1 will cut the West Bank in two (the area to the east is a desert, and on a very different altitude).

East Jerusalem and the Judea Desert (A Google Map)


Ir Amim (“City of Nations” or “City of Peoples”) is an NGO which focuses on Jerusalem within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Ir Amim seeks to render Jerusalem a more viable and equitable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it. The above text and the maps appear here with the permission of Ir Amim.

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    1. aristeides

      If they build it, Palestine will just have to take it. No alternative.

      Reply to Comment
      • omar

        If they build we the Palestinian people will knock it down. Does any law apply to those savages.

        Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      Of course they’ll build it ASAP – there is nothing wrong with building on no-man’s land.

      Abbas really did a great job.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        Its against the international law ,again educate yourself.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          We’ve been through it before: no state=no occupation

          Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        Oh they’ll build it if the international community gives them the wink yet again. But are you still suggesting that Palestine is a land without a people? And why are you blaming that creep Abbas?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Obviously not land without people (surprise surprise) but rather people without state.

          It is land with people who not only never had any state and declined statehood offers during 64 years but also proved to be rather hostile to their neighbors.

          Abbas breached the Oslo conventions – who else is to blame?

          Abbas did exactly what Arafat did not for some 40 years, although he have had many chances.

          You see, Oslo was a perfect stalemate, while such change of status creates momentum which will eventually lead to declaration of the Palestinian state in whatever actual borders/armistice lines/settlement fences so Israel has to install it’s permanent borders.

          Reply to Comment
    3. rsgengland

      It has taken 65 years for the Arabs/Muslims to recognise the 1947 partition plan.
      If they wait any longer to negotiate, certain areas will be out of the loop.
      Barack offered a solution, but instead of negotiating around that, we got the ‘2nd intafada’.
      Olmert offered a solution, but instead of negotiations , we got ‘silence’.
      Now we have Bibi,and another list of reasons why ‘the Palestinians’ will not/can not negotiate.
      The ‘refugee’ issue is going to be the sticking point, and I can not see any Palestinian brave enough to face this issue.
      And don’t forget we have two sets of ‘REFUGEES’ to sort out (although there are many who will deny that).

      Reply to Comment
      • Sam

        No we don’t. The issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries was sorted out long ago. The descendents of those people can negotiate with the various Arab states from where they came regarding compensation.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Man, you are delusional.

          “Summit on Jewish refugees from Arab countries making waves in Arab media; claim Israeli deputy foreign minister’s initiative an attempt to demand compensation, play down Palestinian refugees”

          See? An attempt to demand.


          Reply to Comment
    4. Richard Witty

      Of the developments/settlements surrounding Jerusalem, which of them are integrated?

      Reply to Comment
    5. misinformed?

      Do you have no SHAME? Or are you just a moron??

      how can you say “thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible.” and in the same article show a google map that gives a potential Palestine state the same waist line as Israel’s?

      Reply to Comment
      • Andrew Miller

        The “waistlines” are not comparable. Israel’s “waistline” runs through is in the coastal plain, with many population centers easily connected.

        In the Palestinian territories, on the other hand, together with the ow Judean desert, the E1-Ma’aleh Adumim axis would indeed disconnect the northern highland cities of Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin from the southern highland cities of Bethlehem and Hebron.

        More importantly, construction of E1 would cement the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Palestinians are not interested in a state of which East Jerusalem is not a contiguous part.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >disconnect the northern highland cities of Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin from the southern highland cities of Bethlehem and Hebron.

          What makes you think that Israel won’t build a highway for Palestinians to use, as she did in many other places?

          >Palestinians are not interested in a state of which East Jerusalem is not a contiguous part.

          Since Palestinians have to rights to Jerusalem whatsoever, their view on this issue is of very little concern.

          Indeed, why should Palestinians have a capital in a city which never was capital to any “Palestinian” state and was not even an administrative center since 750 CE.

          Reply to Comment
    6. henach

      It is an anachronism that other states want to decide whether Jews may live in the Jewish national homeland. Today, Israel has possession, and also the historical, legal (article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine, plus article 80 of the UN charter), Biblical, and self-defense right to permit Jews to live in the Jewish homeland.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Handala

      Trespasser – please go back to where you trespassed from. Trespassing is illegal, just like everything you defend. Take care (actually don’t!)

      Reply to Comment