The Israeli Defence Ministry, this week, approved plans to build 381 new homes in the Givat Ze’ev settlement, north of Jerusalem. This is the third such announcement in three weeks. The Alternative Information Center (AIC) reports that, on January 6, Israel approved plans for the construction of 272 housing units in various West Bank settlements and that, only four days later, it unveiled plans for the construction of 1,800 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
At the end of July, 2013, Israelis and Palestinians embarked upon a nine month track of direct negotiations, at the urging of US Secretary of State John Kerry. However, after nearly six months peppered by a steady flow of new construction announcements, the talks appear to have made little visible progress.
Following the announcement of new constructions in Givat Ze’ev, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP that ‘this decision confirms that Netanyahu’s government only wants to continue settlement building, which will destroy any possible peace.’
Palestinian negotiators state that Israeli settlement construction breaches understandings which led to renewed peace talks, and that the Palestinian Authority will therefore not accept an extension of negotiations.