Israel to build hundreds of settler homes in East Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Dec 27 (IANS) A committee is expected to authorise the construction of hundreds of settler homes in East Jerusalem, despite a UN resolution demanding a halt to the settlements, an official said on Tuesday.
A Jerusalem municipality spokesperson said the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee has on its agenda the approval of 618 housing units in Jewish neighbourhoods across the Green Line, Xinhua news agency reported.
The plan includes 140 housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev, which will expand this neighbourhood settlement toward the Palestinian village of Hizmeh, 216 housing units in Ramot, extending the settlement in the direction of Bir Nabala, and 262 units in Ramat Shlomo.
While the permits were already on the agenda before Friday’s resolution by the UN Security Council, Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman said the committee was going to discuss the approval of additional 5,600 housing units.
“We remain unfazed by the UN vote, or by any other entity that tries to dictate what we do in Jerusalem,” he said.
“I hope the Israeli government and the new US administration will support us, so we can make up for the lack (of construction) during the eight years of the Obama administration,” he said.
The move came after the Security Council approved on Friday a resolution that condemned the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law. The motion was passed due to the abstention of the US, the Israel’s closest ally.
Israel reacted angrily, cancelling Ukraine Prime Minister’s scheduled visit to Jerusalem and summoning the ambassadors of the countries that backed the resolution on Sunday.
Later, in a rare move, the Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador “for clarifications” talk.
Speaking at the cabinet’s weekly meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he instructed his office to draft a “plan of action” against the UN, without elaborating.
“We will do all it takes, so Israel emerges unscathed from this shameful decision,” he said.
Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War, along with the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
It later annexed East Jerusalem and declared it as part of its “eternal and indivisible capital”, in a move that has never been recognised by the international community.