[Wednesday, February 05, 2014] The Israeli government of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved the construction of 558 additional units in illegal Israeli settlements, in occupied Jerusalem.The Jerusalem City Council announced it has approved permits for the construction of the 558 units, adding that the “Planning Committee” issued permits for the construction of 386 units in Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) illegal settlement, 136 in Neve Yaakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev, all built on Palestinian lands.

The granted permits allow the construction to begin in the near future, and the government is likely to start the construction in the coming few weeks, Israeli Peace Now Movement has reported.

The decision comes to place another obstacle to direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that were resumed under American mediation at the end of July of 2013.

Israel refuses to hold talks on the future of occupied East Jerusalem that was captured along with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the 1967 six-day war.

Tel Aviv considers Jerusalem its “eternal and united capital”, and does not recognize the legitimate Palestinian rights in the city.

There are more than 350.000 Jewish settlers living in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, in addition to more than 200.000 settlers who live in settlement in and around occupied East Jerusalem.

On his part, Nabil Abu Rodina, spokesperson of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, strongly denounced that Israeli decision, and said it is yet another proof Israel is obstructing international efforts to ensure successful peace talks, based on the two-state solution.

Abu Rodeina stated there can be no peace without Jerusalem, the capital of the anticipated Palestinian State, and that all settlements are illegal under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, and must be removed for comprehensive peace to be achieved.