On June 28, Sharon Goldstein, the Advisor of Political Affairs for the Mayor of Jerusalem, arranged a meeting between the Department of Health and Sanitation, a sewage company and the council of Bir’Ona, to discuss the possibilities of establishing a municipal sanitation and sewage system in the Palestinian village. According to the proposal, Bir’Ona would be included in the Jerusalem sanitation routes and be connected to the city’s sewage system. Connection to the Jerusalem sewage system will cost each household approximately 11, 000 NIS.
Bir'Ona is a part of the Beit Jala village near Bethlehem and lies under the illegal Jewish settlement of Har Gilo. Israel illegally considers Bir'Ona to be a part of Jerusalem but its residents carry West Bank ID cards and do not receive any of the municipal services that they are taxed for. When the council asked why their garbage could go to Jerusalem while they themselves could not, the question was dismissed by the municipal officials as being "a political question."
On July 12, the Coalition Against House Demolitions took a tour of Bir'Ona as part of their traveling protest tent and house demolition exhibition, which is currently touring the West Bank in hopes of spreading awareness and activism around the issue of home demolition and the population transfer of the Bedouin. To date, there have been 2 house demolitions in Bir'Ona, with 19 demolition orders still pending. When Goldstein was asked how the houses with demolition orders will be connected to the municipal sewage system, Goldstein refused to give an explicit answer.
Residents have also stated that Israelis frequently come to their doors offering to buy their homes and property. As Bir'Ona is situated directly under the new settler bypass road, Route 60, as well as being in the path of another bypass road that will connect the Gosh Etzion block with the prospective and illegal Har Homa settlement on Abu Ghneim, the property is strategically very important. With the majority of the homes in Bir'Ona out of the way, the Israeli Jerusalem municipality will have secured the Route 60 bridge, be able to complete the new bypass road, and the Har Gilo settlement will expand.
The Bir'Ona council stated that it will refuse the municipal plan for the new infrastructure until their basic human rights are secured. For the people of Bir'Ona the very idea that they are strangers in their own village is very unsettling. As Na'im Abu Sa’d remarked, "I was here before the state of Israel and they ask me why I'm here -- what kind of thinking is this?"