Israel has announced that it plans to construct 1,600 new illegal settlement units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), which was annexed by Tel Aviv following the Six-Day War of 1967, in violation of international law.
Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said on Monday that the 1,600 settlement units first announced in March 2010 would be built in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, AFP reported.
“In the next two weeks, the Interior Ministry’s district committee for Jerusalem (al-Quds) will convene to discuss the objections to the program that was approved for deposit over two years ago,” Orbach said.
“The committee will then have to decide which of the objections — if any — it accepts, and make changes accordingly,” she added.
On November 30, Israel approved a plan to build 3,000 more units in East al-Quds and the occupied West Bank.
Many countries, including some of Tel Aviv’s allies, have condemned the Israeli plans to construct illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Monday that the Israeli plan is “pure vengeance against the Palestinians following the UN vote.”
On November 29, the 193-member UN General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.
The observer state status grants Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, where they can file formal complaints against the Israeli regime.
On Monday, Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their capitals to protest against the settlement expansion plan.
In addition, Turkey strongly condemned the move on Sunday, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel’s illegal settlement activities intentionally “destroy the groundwork” laid for establishing lasting peace in the region.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Tel Aviv to cancel the plan, which she called “counterproductive.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed “grave concern and disappointment” on Sunday over the Israeli settlement plans.
Israel’s annexation of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and has never been recognized by the international community.