Israel approves plans for 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem

Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah on Monday described as “dangerous” and “unacceptable” recent Israeli violations against Palestinian holy sites and a recently-disclosed plan by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build 1,060 new Zionist settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

“These dangerous Israeli violations make the [Palestinian leadership’s] decision to resort to international organizations and the United Nations Security Council an urgent matter,” Abu Rudeinah was quoted as saying by the official Palestinian news agency.

Abu Rudeinah said the entire Middle East region was heading full tilt toward an “earthquake” that would affect everybody.

Similarly, Jibril Rajoub of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party, told reporters at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah that building these settlements will lead to an “explosion of violence.”

“If he(Netanyahu) wants to keep pushing us all into a vicious circle of bloodshed and killing he must draw the right conclusion from what happened in Gaza,” Rajoub added, referring to the devastating 50-day Israeli aggression on Gaza in July and August.

The Israeli authorities has given the green light for the planning of more than 1,000 new Zionist settler homes in annexed East Jerusalem.

“The government has decided to advance the planning of more than 1,000 units in Jerusalem, roughly 400 in Har Homa and about 600 in Ramat Shlomo,” an Israeli official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in English, referring to two existing illegal East Jerusalem settlements.

He did not elaborate and declined to comment on the likely political and diplomatic impact of such a move at a time when Palestinians and the international community are already incensed at the latest settler moves in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where there have been almost nightly clashes for months.

“There is never a good time to do such things, now more than ever as Jerusalem is burning,” Lior Amichai, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project, told AFP.

He said it was unclear from the statement whether the government was close to issuing construction tenders or wanted to fast-track plans in their early stages.

Ties between Israel and its close ally, the United States have become increasingly frayed over Israeli officials’ public criticism of US foreign policy and the Obama administration’s alarm at Netanyahu’s relentless settlement-building.

The Israeli official also said that plans would be “advanced for infrastructure projects in the West Bank that will include roads for the Palestinians.”

Some 200,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem.

Settlement building in the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War is considered illegal under international law, and they remain one of the most divisive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Source: Al-Akhbar English

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