The White House and the United Nations expressed on Monday concern over the Israeli plan to build 844 new homes for Israeli settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem.
Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman, stated that the Unites States does not believe that more settlements should be built as this issue causes more tension in peace talks with the Palestinians.
She added that the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem is also part of the problem as the Palestinians feel that Israel is not serious in its peace talks and “is not acting in good faith”.
Also, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed on Monday deep concern over the issue.
He said that the Israeli announcement of bids to construct settlements in East Jerusalem causes deep concern.
Ki-moon added that the Israeli government did not halt settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, which violates the international law and Israel’s commitments to the Road Map peace plan and the Annapolis summit.
The new developments came after Israel announced on Sunday that its plans to construct more than 800 settler homes in east Jerusalem. The Israeli government said that these homes are in the Jerusalem area, yet Jerusalem is part of the occupied territories. The homes are planned to be built in Pisgat Ze’ev and Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Home) illegal settlements.
Israeli Housing Minister, Zeev Boim, already instructed his ministry to publish a bid for the construction of houses in the two settlements.
During his Monday meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the new Israeli plan.
The two leaders met while Israel was celebrating what it described as the “reunification day” of Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem after the Six Day war in 1967. The first part of Jerusalem was captured after the 1948 war.
Earlier on Monday, Abbas met received the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and told him that a peace agreement would be a very difficult task to achieve if Israel does not stop the construction and expansion of settlements.
The Road Map Plan of 2004, and the 2007 Annapolis Peace Summit require Israel to halt all of its settlement activities on any occupied Palestinian territories.
The current expansion plan is set to be conducted on Palestinian lands which were illegally occupied by Israel after the 1967 war.