Israel approves nearly 700 new settlement units in east Jerusalem

AP , Wednesday 10 Jan 2024

Almost 700 housing units for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem were given final approval by a local committee on Tuesday, according to Ir Amim, an anti-settlement monitoring group.

Jewish settlements
File Photo shows Israel s controversial concrete barrier (C) separating the Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov (foreground) in the northern part of east Jerusalem and the Palestinian area of al-Ram (background) in the occupied West Bank. AFP


The announcement came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was meeting with Israeli leaders and reiterating his calls for movement toward the establishment of a Palestinian state after the Gaza war.

A similar announcement during a visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2010 caused a diplomatic incident at the time.

The Givat HaShaked development is part of a cluster of settlements on the southern edge of east Jerusalem, many of which have already been built up into full-fledged residential neighborhoods.

Critics say the settlements further undermine any hopes for a two-state solution.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and some 700,000 Jewish settlers now live in settlements built across both territories. The Palestinians seek both areas for their future state.

Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at Ir Amim, says another plan for 1,500 settler homes was approved just weeks ago. He says settlement planning in the city has been unaffected by the war.

“Nothing to do with settlements has stopped,” Tatarsky said. “Oct. 7 didn’t change anything.”

Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its undivided capital. But its annexation of the eastern sector is not internationally recognized.

"Beit Safafa is already mostly encircled by Jewish settlements and the Givat HaShaked development further prevents its growth," said Tatarsky.

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