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Israel advances settlement plans all over occupied East Jerusalem

Construction workers build illegal settlements in Jerusalem [Sliman Khader/Apaimages]
Construction workers build illegal settlements in occupied Jerusalem, 26 March 2018 [Sliman Khader/Apaimages]

Israeli authorities have recently advanced a number of settlement plans across occupied East Jerusalem, according to an update issued yesterday by NGO Ir Amim.

The most significant development, as reported this week, was the start of construction for a major expansion of Nof Tzion settlement, in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhood Jabal Mukabber.

According to Ir Amim, the outline plan includes a total of 395 housing units, “of which 91 units have already been built and populated”. The new construction will add 182 new units.

“Establishing and expanding state-backed settler enclaves like Nof Tzion within Palestinian neighbourhoods not only erodes the fabric of these communities, but further reinforces Israeli control of East Jerusalem,” Ir Amim commented.

READ: Our shift on Israel settlements ‘creates space for political resolution’ says Pompeo

Meanwhile, in the south of occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities approved on 19 November an outline plan for 290 housing units in Gilo settlement.

In advancing the plan, the District Planning Committee “rejected objections submitted by a Palestinian family who claimed ownership of the land in question and currently resides in a home on a portion of the property.”

In fact, Ir Amim described, “the committee refused to discuss the dispute over land ownership, citing that it was beyond its purview and authority which deals with planning issues alone.”

In a further development, according to media reports cited by Ir Amim, the Israeli construction ministry announced it was preparing a plan for 11,000 housing units in Atarot settlement, in the north of occupied East Jerusalem. No actual plans have yet to be formally advanced.

READ: Israel’s next move is the real danger in the US decision to normalise illegal Jewish settlements

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