Israel approves 640 new settler units in East Jerusalem

Majority of new housing units to be built on Palestinian land, Haaretz reports

Israel approves 640 new settler units in East Jerusalem

The Israeli authorities on Wednesday approved construction of hundreds of new Jewish-only housing units in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports. 

"Jerusalem’s district committee has approved the construction of 640 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement near the Bit Hanina neighborhood,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported. 

“Most of the housing units will be built on Palestinian-owned land,” the newspaper added. 

According to Haaretz, the committee rejected objections raised earlier by anti-settlement groups. 

“This decision constitutes more proof that Israel’s control of East Jerusalem is based on a discriminatory regime,” anti-settlement groups said in a joint Wednesday statement. 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says Israel stepped up settlement construction in East Jerusalem after U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this year. 

The PA further accuses the U.S. administration of failing to criticize Israeli settlement activity since Trump won the White House in late 2016. 

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

The Palestinians want these territories -- along with the Gaza Strip -- for the establishment of a future Palestinian state. 

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

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