Tel Aviv responds to diplomat's expulsion with approval for new settler enclave opposite UK Consulate
Israeli media sources have indicated an indirect link between the recent London – Tel Aviv diplomatic spat, and the construction of a new settlement enclave in Jerusalem. The enclave, situated opposite the UK consulate, was strongly criticized by the British Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) when it was first proposed several months ago and after which official Israeli approval for the project was postponed.
Israeli sources have said that approval by the Jerusalem municipality of the plan to build 20 apartments for settlers in this particular area and at this particular time may be an Israeli response to Britain's expulsion of one of its diplomat. The expulsion is a result of conclusions reached by the British about positive Israeli involvement in the cloning of British passports to carry out the assassination of a senior Hamas member, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh.
Preliminary approval to build the settlement unit was given last July when it provoked fury and strong objections from the British, as the project was located near the Shepherd Hotel, opposite its consulate in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Palestinians assert that the area where the new settlement units will be built is owned by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, and insist that Israel has nothing to do with this area.