In 2007, Israel started plans for a Jewish settlement built in the heart of one of the most crowded urban Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem, located south of Qalandia checkpoint, which controls access to East Jerusalem from Ramallah. The Atarot plan was to build 10,000 flats, making it the largest housing project at the time.

The Atarot settlement has since had huge implications for any viable Palestinian state. The settlement destroys the chances for Palestinians to have their own airport near Jerusalem and it also blocks contiguity between the West Bank and any future Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. It has turned neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem into ghettos isolating them between Israeli settlements to the north (Atarot), east (Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yaacov) and the West (Givat Zeev, Ramot).

The Atarot settlement is over the Green Line and therefore is not internationally recognised to be apart of Israel and is therefore illegal.