Israel has disclosed plan to construct hundreds of new settler homes in a sensitive east Jerusalem neighborhood.
This was disclosed by the Israeli Housing Ministry and a settlement watchdog group on Sunday November 15, 2020.
The Housing Ministry on Sunday opened up tenders for more than 1,200 new homes in the strategic settlement of Givat Hamatos in Jerusalem.
The settlement watchdog group Peace Now and other critics said the construction would seal off the Palestinian city of Bethlehem from east Jerusalem, further cutting off access for the Palestinians to the eastern sector of the city, which they claim as the capital of a future state.
“The move may test the ties with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to take a firmer tack against Israeli settlement expansion after four years of a more lenient policy under President Donald Trump,” The Associated Press reported.
Brian Reeves, a spokesman for Peace Now, said the move allows contractors to begin bidding on the tenders, a process that will conclude just days before Biden’s inauguration.
“This is a lethal blow to the prospects for peace and the possibility of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians,” Peace Now said in a statement.
It added that “Israel was taking advantage of the final weeks of the Trump administration in order to set facts on the ground that will be exceedingly hard to undo in order to achieve peace.”
The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war — for their future state.