Peace Now: East Jerusalem settlement set to grow

Palestinian families watch as Israeli riot police file past their homes in the East Jerusalem Ras al-Amud neighborhood near the Mount of Olives in 2010. An Israeli landowner is seeking to sell plots for 30 homes in a Palestinian neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, where 117 settler families already live, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Friday. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Apr 1, 2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — An Israeli landowner is seeking to sell plots for 30 homes in a Palestinian neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, where 117 settler families already live, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Friday.

Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran said that although the landowner has declared himself ready to sell to the highest bidder – Jew or Arab – the outcome is most likely to be an extension of the existing settlement enclave in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.

“We know the owner…he is a settler himself,” she told AFP. “If the Palestinians can put up enough money they may be taking it but settlers want it also, so I believe that it’s more likely to go to the settlers.”

Ofran said that construction was still subject to final planning approval.

Jerusalem city council, which has approved the area for residential development, says only that it makes no distinction between Jews and Arabs in construction projects.

The international community has repeatedly called on Israel to avoid new building projects in occupied East Jerusalem, which it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed shortly afterward.

US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are deadlocked over the issue of Jewish-only settlement in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians walked out of direct peace talks three weeks after they started last September when Israel refused to extend a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

They refuse to negotiate with Israel while it builds on land they want for a future Palestinian state.

In March 2010, the interior ministry announced a plan to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The announcement, which came as US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, provoked fierce American opposition and soured relations with Washington for several months.

Source

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: