Israeli authorities yesterday advanced plans for a settlement of 150 new housing units in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem, reported NGO Ir Amim.
The plan, described as "settler-initiated", was deposited for objections, meaning that the public now has 60 days to submit objections.
According to Ir Amim, "although the plan was officially submitted by a private Israeli landowner, city council member and settler leader Arieh King has long been driving promotion of the project."
Ownership of the plot in question is split 50-50 between the Israeli landowner and a Palestinian company. The settler-initiated plan, however, covers the entire property.
Although the Palestinian landowners informed the Jerusalem District Committee of its objection to the plan, the committee decided to promote it regardless.
According to Ir Amim, if ultimately approved, "the plan will enable an ideologically driven settler outpost in the heart of Beit Hanina, a neighbourhood located on the northern perimeter of East Jerusalem that has remained relatively untouched by Israeli settlement within its limits."
"Since the land in question is not far from Ramat Shlomo to the south-west and Pisgat Zeev to the north-east of it, its construction may mark the beginning of a far sweeping move to create contiguity between the two settlements, while driving a wedge between Bet Hanina and Shuafat."