Israel delays major settlement plan for East Jerusalem

Israel

Israel IsraelAn Israeli state planning committee delayed granting further approval of a major settlement project in East Jerusalem on Monday. The project has drawn US (United States) and Palestinian concern. The project was discussed in a call between Bennett and the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The project received preliminary approval last month by the Jerusalem municipal committee . The proposal gave a detailed report about building up to 9,000 homes for Jewish settlers at an abandoned airport in East Jerusalem. However, according to a statement from Israel’s Planning Administration, now the Jerusalem committee has decided against moving forward, because they think the project needs further environmental study.

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According to a report by the Associated Press, the anti-settlement group Peace Now had prosecuted a public campaign against the plan. They said that the proposed settlement’s location was problematic. They further said that the plan was illogical as the proposed construction between East Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank can further dim any Palestinian hopes for a future state.

However, Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid said that the Israeli government was in no hurry to approve the plan. According to Reuters, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the settlement plan. He said that it would separate the Jerusalem from the outlying Palestinian area.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Most world powers deem Israeli settlements in occupied territory as illegal, reported Reuters. However, Israel, citing historical, biblical and political links to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, disputes this. The Palestinians, however, view the expansion of Israeli settlements as a violation of international law. More than 200,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem while nearly 500,000 live in settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank.

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