Less that one week after the meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli “Construction and Planning Committee” at the Jerusalem Municipality approved, Monday, the construction of 32 units for Jewish settlers in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement, east of occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli media sources reported that members of the committee decided to grant construction licenses for the new units.
The voting was supposed to be held last week but Netanyahu asked the committee to delay the vote on the new units until he concludes his visit to Washington.
The new licenses allow the settlers to start the constructions immediately, while the current plan is only part of a bigger project that includes the construction of 250 settlement units near Hizma a Palestinian village, in East Jerusalem.
The Committee is expected to vote and approve an additional 48 units at the same location next week.
Illegal settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the demolition of Palestinian homes in the city, in addition to the illegal confiscation of homes to give them to Jewish settlers, are among the main issues that pushed the Palestinian Authority to halt proximity talks with Israel.
Netanyahu and his extremist coalition partners are pushing for the so-called “economic peace” with the Palestinians by keeping the Palestinian economy totally dependent on Israel.
The Israeli government also believes that “it has the right” to build settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied West Bank and refuses any talks on evacuating large settlement blocks in the occupied territories.
Settlements violate both international law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and constitute war crimes as an occupying power cannot move all or part of its population into territories it occupies.