Israel has approved the construction of 90 new illegal settlement units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in defiance of international calls on the regime to stop its expansionist policies in the occupied Palestinian lands.
According to Israel’s Channel 7, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee authorized the building of new units in Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) neighborhood in the south of East al-Quds.
Reports added that the municipality in al-Quds will continue its illegal settlement activities in other parts of the region as well.
Earlier in the month, the committee also approved the construction of 900 of 1,800 settlement units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East al-Quds.
The Ramat Shlomo construction plan garnered harsh criticism from Palestinian officials and international bodies.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, lashed out at Tel Aviv for its new settlement plans, saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to “impose a perpetual Apartheid regime.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also voiced concern over Israel’s bid to push ahead with the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, saying the plan is “illegal under international law.”
During his electoral campaign in March, Netanyahu had vowed to press ahead with settlement construction in the occupied territories.
“We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units … in the face of all the pressure,” Netanyahu stated.
Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds over the past decades by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
Much of the international community regards the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were occupied by Israel in 1967, and they are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.