When will you be able to buy a house in Jerusalem?
The first house in the capital to be built in the next five years will be a replica of a real-life Palestinian refugee camp, with a view to eventually becoming a national symbol of the city.
The Kfar Etzion settlement of about 200 families was built on land confiscated from the Palestinian Authority in the 1960s and 1970s by Israeli settlers and their descendants.
Built on top of an old Palestinian road, it was used as a settlement in the 1980s and was used for a number of illegal Israeli settlements, including the illegal “Kerem Shalom” settlement of more than 400 families.
However, due to ongoing Israeli settlement activity and to the closure of the main road leading to the settlement, the Kfar Etzion settlement has been completely demolished.
The first house to be constructed in the Kalfat settlement in Jerusalem will be built on the same land and on the exact same site as the original settlement.
The settlement was demolished in 2001 and its residents were relocated to another part of the country.
Now, in a bid to return the settlement to the same site and to restore the rights of the Koleh population, a new settlement is being built on its land.
The new settlement, named Kalfats HaMeinah, will be on land that is part of a recently opened Jewish settlement in Kiryat Arba.
The settlement was destroyed in 2001.
It will consist of eight houses, one for each of the families that fled to Israel in the 1970s and 1980s.
A spokesperson for the Khaher Al-Taub group, which runs the settlement and is responsible for the restoration, said that construction on the new Kalfatz HaMeina will begin in September, with completion planned for December.
Construction is expected to take about three months, and the entire project is expected by the end of 2021.
A local resident of Kalfah said that the building process took longer because of the closure that took place between 2002 and 2004, which forced residents of the settlement from their homes and the area was not completely closed off to the public.
“I came to know about construction and the construction of the project a few years ago, but I could not understand it,” said Yael Nabi Saleh, a resident of the area.
“Now, with the construction, I understand everything.
The building will help us regain the status of the old settlers.”
In 2012, the government decided to temporarily re-open the area for construction work, but with the new construction work not being permitted, the construction will be suspended until further notice.
A Khaaira resident who did not want to be identified said that after he and his family fled to the area in the late 1980s, the situation in the area became dangerous, especially after the demolition of the original Kalfaz settlement in 1982.
“In the 1980’s, the area had an influx of Palestinian refugees,” he said.
“They built on top the old road, but they did not allow us to live there, and they made us leave the area.”
He added that the Klaas family was forced to move to the nearby town of Mitzpe Harel, a town that has also been demolished.
“They told us to go back to Kiryats Harel,” he recalled.
“We stayed in Kiryaats Harlan [in the same area] and after the destruction of the town, the locals told us that we could not live there.
So we left.”
The Khaarats Nabi Yablan family has lived in Kirayaats Harenz for about a year, and said that although they could not see any improvements, they were pleased that construction is taking place.
“We know that the construction works are good,” he told Al Jazeera.
“And we are happy that the work is taking so long.
We have a home now.”
But he said that since construction began, there have been complaints about the noise and the noise from other residents.
The Kiryati government has promised to bring the project to a conclusion before the end to give the locals time to rest.
“The work is important and it is the government’s duty to help the settlers,” said a spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Housing.
“But it’s not just the government.
The Israeli people have to decide what’s best for them.”
Al Jazeera’s Hannah Al-Safadi, reporting from Jerusalem, said construction in Kiriyaats Haredi town has also come under scrutiny.
“It’s a very sensitive issue, because Kiryaat Haredim are also refugees,” she said.
“The Kiryaas are living in Kirayat Harel now, and this is a way to bring in the construction work to their land.”
The government is currently working on plans to open the settlement for construction.
The Khaarahi family is planning to leave the settlement.
“If we leave, we will live in the new settlement,”