Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

IDF base to be built in East Jerusalem

15 February 2011

By Nir Hasson, Haaretz – 15 Feb 2011

The Jerusalem municipality plans to construct an Israel Defense Forces army base that will house military colleges on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, reportedly beyond the pre-1967 war green line.

Both the municipality as well as the Ministry of Defense dispute this claim, stating that the base will be built within the green line, however, Haaretz has revealed otherwise and according to the plans created by the architectural firm hired by the municipality, the base will encroach upon disputed territory.

The IDF colleges to be built on the potentially controversial base will include the command and staff school, the school for national security and the military academy that are currently located on the IDF base in Glilot. Although the majority of the units at the Glilot base are meant to be moved south as part of a plan to increase IDF presence in the Negev, the IDF, Jerusalem municipality and the Ministry of Defense agreed to move the colleges to the capital. Plans have already been set into motion, and the municipality has hired architect Eli Ilan to prepare the initial blueprints for the project.

According to a document obtained by Haaretz, which includes the first draft of plans detailing the grounds of the base, it will be located on Mount Scopus, between the Mormon University and the Augusta Victoria Hospital, not far from Hebrew University. Based on the document, the base will encompass 32 dunams (a unit for measuring land area, about 1/4 acre) and will house learning institutes, a swimming pool, a gym and more. This is, however, only a first draft that is yet to be shown to the planning committee.

Although the Ministry of Defense as well as the Jerusalem municipality have claimed that the base will be within the green line, the document proves otherwise. Mount Scopus was part of Israel during the time period between the 1948 War of Independence and the 1967 Six Day War, and the majority of Hebrew University’s campus is within this territory. Most of the area in which the base is to be built, however, appears to be on land that belonged to Jordan during the interwar period. According to armistice agreements, it was a demilitarized zone and a small part of it was no man’s land between the two countries’ borders.

The construction of an IDF base in East Jerusalem is expected to spark criticism from the United States as well as Europe, who see all building in East Jerusalem as detrimental to the peace process and against the status quo, particularly in light of the fact that it is for military purposes.

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