The Israeli government announced on Tuesday that it has approved the construction of an additional 1,110 housing units in two settlements in the Jerusalem municipality. According to the government statement, some 360 units will be constructed in the Har Homa settlement located within the occupied territories, between the city of Jerusalem and the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Har Homa settlement was initiated illegally during the early 1990's on lands belonging to Palestinians from the Bethlehem area and nearby villages.

The remaining 750 housing units will be added to Besghat Za'ev settlement, to the north of Jerusalem.

Israeli officials said that the new houses are aimed at young Jewish couples, and to encourage Israelis to move into the Jerusalem "city suburbs", in order to achieve the "Greater Jerusalem" plan.

The Israeli government's "Greater Jerusalem" plan intends to encircle the city of Jerusalem with the wall and settlements, disconnecting the city from the rest of the West Bank, thus changing the 'official' demographics of Jerusalem city toward a target of 90% Jewish and 10% Palestinian by the year 2010.

Translated by Ghassan Bannoura – IMEMC News.