Not only is Israel authorizing 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but they may start building in the next year even more homes in what is known as a “geographically sensitive area close to Jerusalem”. Palestinians aren’t going to like that one bit.
Predictably the Obama administration frowns at the new settlements, calling them ‘counterproductive’. GOOD!
YAHOO NEWS – Hours after the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to grant de-facto statehood to Palestine, Israel responded on Friday by announcing it was authorizing 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
An official, who declined to be named, said the government had also decided to expedite planning work for thousands more homes in a geographically sensitive area close to Jerusalem that critics say would kill off Palestinian hopes of a viable state.
The decision was made on Thursday when it became clear that the U.N. General Assembly was set to upgrade the Palestinians’ status in the world body, making them a “non-member state”, as opposed to an “entity”, boosting their diplomatic clout.
An Israeli official had earlier conceded that this represented a “total failure of diplomacy” and warned there would be consequences – which were swift in coming.
Plans to put up thousands of new settler homes in the wake of the Palestinian upgrade were always likely, but the prospect of building in an area known as E-1, which lies near Jerusalem and bisects much of the West Bank, is seen by some as a potential game changer.
“E-1 will signal the end of the two state-solution,” said Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli expert on settlements. He added that statutory planning would take another six to nine months to complete, meaning building there was not a foregone conclusion.
About 500,000 Israelis already live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on land Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war – territory the Palestinians claim for their independent state.
The United States, one of the eight countries to vote alongside Israel at the U.N. General Assembly, said the latest expansion plan was counterproductive to the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.