The Israeli West Jerusalem municipality Monday approved a tender to build 142 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem area, according to Walla Israeli media website.It reported that the municipality’s committee approved the building of 142 new housing units in Jabal Abu Ghnaim, recognized by the Israeli government as the (illegal) settlement of Har Homa.
WAFArfurther reports that Israel has been approving the building of new housing units in settlements located in the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, despite international condemnations.
World countries have continuously expressed concern over Israel’s settlement construction, which is slammed as illegal based on international law.
On October 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave orders for the construction of 1,060 new housing units in two settlements of East Jerusalem; 660 new units in ‘Ramot Shlomo’, and 400 in ‘Har Homa’, in addition to an infrastructure project of 12 new settlement roads in the West Bank.
Media reported on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon criticizing Netanyahu’s aforementioned settlement construction decision, challenging him ‘to show leadership and make compromises for peace.’
Meanwhile, PLO Executive Committee Member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, in a statement, condemned this Israeli settlement decision, describing it as a blatant defiance of the international community, which she stressed proves that settlement expansion is the fundamental basis of Netanyahu’s new government’s agenda.
She stressed that this decision is an intentional disregard to the principles of the international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, urging for an immediate international response to deter Israel.
Only last week, the Jerusalem Municipality stated that the “planned construction of some 1,500 apartments in the capital’s southeastern Har Homa neighborhood has been frozen.”
The Jerusalem Post website reported that, “While no rationale for the freeze was provided; the municipality issued a brief statement Wednesday afternoon saying that the plan has been “dropped from the agenda of the Interior Ministry’s local planning committee.” It remains unclear if, or when, the contentious project will be resumed.”
It said some speculate that the construction freeze is an attempt to improve foundering diplomatic relations – amid heightened tensions between Netanyahu and Obama’s administration.
It said that, the settlement freeze decision stands in stark contrast to Netanyahu’s declaration while visiting Har Homa the day before this month’s election that there is “a way of stopping Bethlehem from moving toward Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu was quoted as saying, “We will continue to build in Jerusalem. We will add thousands of residential units and withstand all the [international] pressure, as we continue to develop our eternal capital.”