Israeli Radio, Reseht Bet, reported Wednesday evening [June 26 2013] that the Construction and Planning Committee of the Jerusalem City Council, approved the construction of additional 69 units in the Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) illegal settlement, east of Bethlehem.Reseht Bet said that the decision to build the new units is final, and does not need any further approval from the City Council or the government.

The plan aims at building additional 33 units in an apartment building in the settlement, and 36 more units in another building.

The decision came just before the visit of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, who will be holding a meeting on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement activities are among the main reasons that pushed the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to quit direct peace talks with Tel Aviv.