Palestinians condemn Israeli plans for settlements near Jerusalem. Israel-Palestine Conflict News

PA seeks US intervention as Israel approves thousands of settlement homes in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem.



Israel has given preliminary approval to a plan that would expand Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries by building thousands of new illegal settlement houses on occupied West Bank land around the city, attracting a Palestinian demand that Washington intervene.

On Wednesday, Jerusalem Municipality gave the green light to what it described as a new eastern neighborhood on land located on the West Bank border, near the Palestinian hub city of Ramallah. This place, which was once located at Kalandia Airport, is known to Israel as Atarot.



The site of the airport, which was closed after the explosion of the Second Intifada in 2000, was designated as a Palestinian tourism area in former US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan. The area is located between the Palestinian neighborhood of Kafr Aqab and the Qalandiya refugee camp.

The plan, which requires further stages of approval, is for the construction of 3,000 homes, with a view to eventually adding another 6,000, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor Eriah King told Reuters news agency.



Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.

The two-state solution set forth by the Oslo Accords of 1993 saw East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state composed of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel claims the entire city of Jerusalem as its inseparable capital.



In 2014, US-sponsored peace talks between the two sides stalled. Washington has since recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without explicitly backing its claim on the entire city.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “The purpose of this settlement plan is to separate Jerusalem from our outer Palestinian territory … to Israel, make it Jewish, and annex it.”

It urged the US and other powers to “immediately intervene to stop these colonial projects and plans”.

The US embassy in Jerusalem did not immediately comment.

About 475,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem has continued to expand under every Israeli government since 1967.

However, construction accelerated in the past few years under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a significant boom during Trump’s US administration, which Palestinians accused of pro-Israeli bias.

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