On 29 November 2012 the United Nations (UN) voted to upgrade the status of Palestine to non-member observer State. Shortly afterwards, Israel, who had vociferously objected to the upgrade, announced the construction of an additional 3,000 units for settlers in the West Bank. This included construction in what is known as the “E1” area, which refers to a twelve square kilometre plot of land located in the West Bank, to the east of the Jerusalem municipal boundary and bordering the Ma’ale Adumim settlement. The close proximity of the E1 area to Ma’ale Adumim settlement allows for significant expansion of what is already the third most popular settlement in the OPT.
The E1 area stretches across 22,000 dunums of confiscated Palestinian land and also provides a vital passage joining the northern and southern sections of the West Bank, as well as Jerusalem. The closure of this passage would effectively cut the West Bank into two. Construction in the E1 area, combined with restrictions imposed by the Annexation Wall and the Oslo Accords, creates a clear obstacle to a self-sufficient economically viable Palestinian State.