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Iran Press TV

Israel to construct over 1,250 new settler units in East Jerusalem al-Quds

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 15 November 2020 3:35 PM

Ignoring the international outcry against its settlement expansion policies, the Israeli regime is planning to build more than 1,250 settler units in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israeli authorities on Sunday invited contractor bids for building 1,257 units in Givat Hamatos, an area of East Jerusalem al-Quds next to the mainly Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa.

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already announced the approval of 3,000 homes in the area.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said the Givat Hamatos tenders amounted to an attempt by Israel to kill the internationally-supported solution for a Palestinian state.

Ir Amim, an Israeli watchdog group that tracks settlements, voiced concerns that the latest construction would be a devastating blow to peace negotiations because it would cut East Jerusalem al-Quds off from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, disrupting the territorial continuity of a future Palestinian state.

The group also warned that the next two months in the lead-up to the change in Washington "will be a critical period".

"We believe that Israel will attempt to exploit this time to advance moves that the incoming administration will potentially oppose," the statement read.

President-elect Joe Biden has said his administration will restore US opposition to the settlements which are considered illegal under international law.

The Trump administration has broken with decades of bipartisan US practice by not opposing settlements in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and the occupied West Bank.

Last week, Israel approval 96 new East Jerusalem al-Quds settler units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. Settlement construction approvals in Ramat Shlomo in 2010 caused a major rift between Netanyahu and former president Barack Obama and then vice president Biden.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and the resistance movement of Hamas have recently decried a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Pompeo is scheduled to visit the settlement of Psagot next week, becoming the first US secretary of state to visit one of the settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The administration of President Donald Trump, who has lost the 2020 presidential election, has said that the US is no longer considering Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank "inconsistent" with international law.

Trump himself has described the scheme as the "deal of the century." The deal envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as "Israel's undivided capital" and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel's settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Since Trump took office in December 2016, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which has pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds "a flagrant violation under international law."

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel's continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Palestinians, who have always been subjected to systematic violations of their rights at the hands of Israelis, have warned that Tel Aviv's actions will only get worse after normalizing ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, in what is seen by Palestinians a betrayal of their cause.

The UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan have normalized relations with the Tel Aviv regime. The Emirates claimed in August that its normalization pact would pause Israel's plans to annex Palestinian territory.

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