The United Nation secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, condemned the latest Israeli decision to build 1,600 new settlers homes in East Jerusalem.
Ban Ki-moon in his statement said that Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land are illegal; he added that Israeli must adhere to the international law and its commitments to past signed agreements.
On Tuesday The Israeli Interior Ministry approved the construction of 1,6000 homes for ultra Orthodox Jews in Ramat Shlomo settlement, in East Jerusalem, expanding its from the east and the south. Earlier in the week Israel also approved 112 settlers’ homes in a settlement located near Bethlehem city, southern West Bank.
U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, stated that Israel’s decision undermines the efforts to restart the Middle East peace process. Biden is visiting the region amidst efforts to start short non-direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians mediated by the USA.
Ziyad Al Ehmory, the Director of the Jerusalem center of Economic and Social Rights, said the U.S administration agree with Israel’s policy towards settlements.
‘Apparently there is an agreement between Israel and the U.S on the settlements issue because we see new construction every time a U.S official comes to visit. Clearly this is a message from Netanyahu, which is two conditions Israeli need before the peace talks, one is the Jewish identity of Israel, and the other is that Jerusalem is its unified capital.’ Al Ehmory told IMEMC Via phone.
In December of last year the Israeli government declared a 10-month settlement freeze to pave the road to restarting the stalled talks with the Palestinians. The ten months are not over yet. Israel freeze declaration was made to counter demands by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas and the U.S administration to halt settlement activity so negotiations can resume.
In the past few months Arab and international leaders pressured President Abbas to start indirect peace talks with Israeli meditated by the Obama Administration. Abbas agreed to four month trail period. Fayez Al Saqa, a Palestinian MP, sys the Palestinians do not have much hope that Israel policy will ever change.
‘ We say the four month trial started, we don not have much hope that Israel will change its policy, we know the Israeli administration well. Palestinians and Arab leaders agreed to start this phase and give it a go for four months, but to be ready for what comes next. If it work that will be good, if not the Palestinian leadership is working and preparing for a new policy that stops totally the negotiations’ Al Saqa stated.
There are 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank settlement, 20, 000 of those live in Jerusalem settlements. Under international law all Israeli settlements in the West Bank including Jerusalem are illegal.