The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem has announced plans to build 400 illegal settlement homes in the occupied town of Abu Dis, to the east of Occupied Jerusalem, reported The Times of Israel.
The plans include expanding the illegal Kidmat Zion settlement, where ten Israeli settler families currently live in three buildings purchased by the Ateret Cohanim settler organisation.
The town is home to 15,000 Palestinian, the main campus of Al-Quds University and Palestine Authority government institutions.
In its building proposal submitted to the building committee, Ateret Cohanim cited “Palestinian ambitions” in Abu Dis to underscore the project’s importance.
“Palestinian institutions in Abu Dis were built with the vision of turning the town into the capital city of Palestine and building a corridor and passage to the centre of Jerusalem, thus promoting the takeover of the entire city,” the group said.
“The significance of establishing and developing the neighbourhood is to create a shield for Jerusalem against Palestinian ambitions. The neighbourhood will disturb the contiguity of the area and protect us from dividing the city,” it added.
Ateret Cohanim is a government-backed Jewish group and educational institute located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It actively works on Judaising the holy city and expelling its indigenous people, the Jerusalemites, from their homes.
The West Bank settler population now makes up more than 720,000 people. Settler leaders predicted faster population growth under the new Israeli ultranationalist government.