World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday sanctioned a meeting on Monday by a government planning and construction committee to approve the construction of 660 new settlement units in East Jerusalem, Israeli media said.
Israel's Channel 10 said the new settlement units would be constructed in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. It added that the committee would also approve new service projects in occupied West Bank settlements.
Netanyahu approved last week a plan for the construction of 1,060 new settlement units in Jerusalem.
The new settlement units include 660 that will be built in the northern neighborhood of Ramot Shlomo, and another 400 in Har Homa in the south, according to Israel Radio.
Abbas' condolence for "Jerusalem shooter"
Netanyahu also slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the latter's condolence letter to the family of a Palestinian killed during an Israeli raid after he allegedly shot and injured an extremist Jewish rabbi in Jerusalem a day earlier.
"When we are trying to calm the situation [in Jerusalem], Abu Mazen [Abbas] sends condolences over the death of one who tried to perpetrate a reprehensible murder," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office on Monday.
"The time has come for the international community to condemn him for such actions," he added.
Tension intensified in East Jerusalem over the weekend when Israeli forces killed Moataz Hegazi – who had been suspected of shooting extremist Jewish rabbi Yehuda Glick – in a raid on his East Jerusalem home.
In a letter sent to Hegazi's family, Abbas expressed "anger and condemnation of the outrageous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army."
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also criticized Abbas' letter, saying that it "proves that Abu Mazen is a partner, a partner for terror, terrorists and murderers."
Israeli police said Hegazi – who reportedly spent several years in an Israeli prison before being released in 2012 – had been killed when he opened fire on police while resisting arrest in East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Glick is known for leading groups of Jews to force their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2014, 10:50