“The Israeli interior ministry announced on Tuesday that the plan for 1100 new housing units in Gilo had passed its district planning committee, and will now be available for public objections for 60 days,” a ministry statement said.
The project’s passage on Tuesday is just one stage of a lengthy, multi-year approvals process for the planned expansion of the Gilo neighbourhood.
But Palestinians have predictably slammed the move as a rejection of a Quartet proposal for fresh peace talks.
“With this, Israel is responding to the Quartet’s statement with 1100 ‘Nos’,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said shortly after the approval was made public.
Richard Miron, spokesman for United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Robert Serry took a similar view.
“Today’s decision by Israeli authorities to advance planning for a large number of new settlement units in east Jerusalem … ignores the Quartet’s appeal of last Friday to the parties to refrain from provocative actions,” he said in a statement.
“This sends the wrong signal at this sensitive time. Settlement activity is contrary to the roadmap and to international law, and undermines the prospect of resuming negotiations and reaching a two state solution to the conflict.”
The United States also said on Tuesday it was disappointed by Israel’s plans to build new homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
“We are deeply disappointed,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, adding the US considered the move “counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties”.
So most people seem to be disappointed. What they don’t realise is that council bureaucrats the world over, who approve housing, are in a world of their own. What is happening elsewhere is of no concern to them. They have a job to do and they are doing it.
Newswarped notes that the international media is not mentioning much that there were hundreds of building approvals given for Palestinian homes at the same meeting.