Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli authorities have approved 558 housing lots in three more settlements in East Jerusalem. The new homes will be distributed as follows: 386 units in Har Homa, 136 in Neve Yaakov and 36 in Pisgat Zeev. Since August 2013, the government has issued a total of 4078 permits for housing construction in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has called the Tel Aviv decision "a deliberate provocation." According to Hanan Ashrawi , a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO ) , the construction of housing lots is part of a clear strategy of the Israeli government . "Israel - says the woman - wants to push the PA to abandon the negotiating table and then blame the Palestinians for the failure of the peace process".
Even Peace Now and Meretz party,
movements of the Israeli left, have criticized the government's move. Lior
Amihai , spokesperson for Peace Now, says
this "is an atrocious decision made at an even worse moment". "A
government that wants the solution of ' two peoples, two states ' - he adds -
should not issue building permits for settlements in East Jerusalem".
Since his election , Netanyahu's government has relied on the consent of the conservative fringe of Israeli politics . To retain power , the Premier has promoted in recent years a policy of settlement expansion rendering the territorial unity of the West Bank impossible, thereby preventing the creation of a Palestinian state. About 500 thousand settlers live in the Territories.
Israeli NGO Peace Now reports that 674 new units have been approved so far this year. For the NGO’s spokesperson Hagit Ofran, the government is promoting construction “quietly and behind the scenes”. Mahmoud Abbas appeals to the UN and stresses the "urgent" need for a resolution.