Palestine slams Israeli plan for new settlement units

Jerusalem, Dec 25: The Palestinian foreign ministry has denounced a new Israeli settlement construction plan, which includes the building of 300,000 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the ministry held US President Donald Trump responsible for “Israeli arrogance” that has endorsed the annexation of East Jerusalem.
“The ministry affirms that this Israeli colonial arrogance would not have happened without US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” the statement read.
“Trump’s administration must bear the responsibility for new crimes that Israel, the occupying country, imposes on our people.”
The ministry urged the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court to confront the move.
According to Israeli media, the country’s Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant announced the launching of a campaign to promote the building of the new settlement units.
Israel’s Channel 10 said the planned construction was part of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem Bill”, which aims to annex illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to the Israeli-defined boundaries of the city of Jerusalem.
The bill was meant to be voted on in October by a ministerial committee before going to the Knesset for approval, but the vote was delayed until further notice.
If passed, the bill would annex to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem the three major mega-settlement cities of Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev and Gush Etzion, which together house around 140,000 Israelis.
It would add the Israelis who live there to the population of Jerusalem, thus allowing them to vote in local elections.
To ensure a Jewish majority in the city, the bill would also create “independent municipalities” for several Palestinian neighbourhoods that are part of the Jerusalem municipality but cut off from the city by Israel’s separation wall.
These neighbourhoods are home to more than 100,000 people who suffer from a severe lack of basic services and infrastructure.
Galant’s remarks come three weeks after US President Donald Trump announced that the US recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said his administration would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
Trump’s declaration prompted international condemnation and widespread protests across the world.