Advancement of plans for settlement units in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem continued at a very high rate in the first half of 2020 (January-July). 14,794 settlement units were advanced in different stages of the planning and implementation process (plans and tenders). 5,525 of the units pertain to settlements located in occupied East Jerusalem, and 9,269 to settlements located in other parts of the West Bank, including in locations deep in the West Bank.
In East Jerusalem a tender for 1,077 units was announced for the sensitive project, which has been frozen for four years, to create an entirely new settlement in Givat Hamatos. In addition, 500 units were advanced for Har Homa E, which would similarly allow for a new settlement in East Jerusalem. Although located in the rest of the West Bank, but in the immediate outskirts of East Jerusalem, 3,401 units were promoted for the E-1 area. If enacted these plans would dramatically sever the contiguity of East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
In the rest of the West Bank, tenders for 3,332 units were advanced, including 405 units to the second largest settlement of Beitar Illit located south of Jerusalem, just east of the Green Line, as well as plans for a new industrial zone.
There were other significant developments contributing to settlement expansion in the reporting period, notably an increased rate of court proceedings initiated by settler organisations with the aim of evicting Palestinians from their homes in various neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem. The reporting period also saw a high level of incidents of settler violence, with the highest numbers observed in Hebron.
As stated in numerous EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. The EU has reiterated its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement and access. The EU has also urged Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts, in line with prior obligations, and maintains that settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States.