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Israel approves 770 housing units in illegal settlement

Image showing construction work to expand the Israeli settlement in Jerusalem [Mahfouz Abu Turk / ApaImages]
Construction work to expand the Israeli settlement in Jerusalem [Mahfouz Abu Turk / ApaImages]

The Israeli Planning and Construction Committee approved the construction of 770 housing units in the illegal Gilo settlement in the south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, according to Israeli sources.

Rachel Greenspan, a spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality, told Ma’an that the building plans were approved in 2013, and were “currently undergoing routine processes of allocation regarding roads and public spaces.”

Greenspan added that the municipality “continues to work according to the city’s master plan and will continue to develop Jerusalem for the benefit of all residents, Jewish and Arab alike.”

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the approval was not final and the construction would still need additional approvals to move forward.

Haaretz also reported that the Israeli nonprofit Ir Amim said in a statement that the plan leaves “a very small area between Jerusalem and the Palestinian town of Beit Jala,” which would further damage any future of a contiguous Palestinian state.

The statement also emphasised the approval of the settlement units amid ongoing demolitions of Palestinian neighborhoods, as the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 has nearly doubled from the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015, leaving at least 1,569 Palestinians homeless since the start of the year.

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