Israel approves building of new settlement neighborhood north of Jerusalem

Jerusalem /PNN/

The Israeli Jerusalem municipality’s Planning and Building Committee approved today a plan for the construction of a new settlement neighborhood in the Atarot area to the north of occupied Jerusalem.

The new settlement will spread over 1،243 dunums, and according to Israeli media outlets, the plan includes the construction of a commercial area.

A senior European Union (EU) representative has denounced the Israeli regime’s recent plan to construct new settler units in the occupied West Bank as clear violation of international law.

Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, head of the EU Delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, made the remarks after visiting some neighborhoods of the occupied East Jerusalem.

The visit was organized by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, which briefed the European delegates about the extremely worrying consequences of the settlement plans.

“The recent approvals of thousands of housing units for Israeli settlers are aimed at disconnecting the Palestinians from their city and changing East Jerusalem identity. Israeli settlements are in clear violation of international law…,” the EU diplomat was quoted as saying.

“Such actions are not only in breach of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, they also … fuel tensions on the ground,” the EU diplomat said.

Separately, a joint statement by the EU diplomats voiced strong opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion policy.

The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides, the statement added.

For months, Israel’s ongoing settlement activities and its planned eviction of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes have stirred tensions. In October, the Israeli regime approved construction of 2,860 new settler units in 30 settlements.

More than 330 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s crackdown on protests so far this year, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. During the same period, Israel has demolished 721 Palestinian buildings and displaced 962 Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The United Nations has warned of a surge in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians, mostly in the areas of al-Khalil, al-Quds, Nablus and Ramallah.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion.

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