Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Israeli authorities have approved plans for the construction of hundreds of new settler units in East Jerusalem al-Quds, as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories.
The so-called District Planning and Building Committee in Jerusalem al-Quds agreed to building 640 new housing units at Ramat Shlomo settlement near the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, the committee rejected objections raised earlier by Israel’s anti-settlement group Ir Amim, which argued the new settler units would be built on privately owned Palestinian land.
The non-profit organization called the district committee’s decision as a “step that violates the property rights of Palestinian landowners through and through.”
“This decision is additional proof that Israeli control in East Jerusalem [al-Quds] means a regime based on serious discrimination,” said the group.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry slammed the decision, saying the move “encourages Israel’s extreme right, which plans to swallow the West Bank and hinder any international effort to achieve peace based on the two-state solution.”
The ministry said the move proves that the administration of US President Donald Trump is biased in favor of the settlement activities.
Israel stepped up settlement construction in East Jerusalem al-Quds after Trump officially recognized the holy city as the “capital” of Israel last December and announced plans to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, triggering widespread anger both inside and outside the occupied territories.
The US embassy relocation took place on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), sparking deadly clashes in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The construction of the new housing units comes in grave contravention of international law and a United Nations Security Council resolution against the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Less than a month before Trump took office in January 2017, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
Israel’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ agenda
In an interview with Press TV, Max Igan, a radio talk show host and political commentator, slammed the expansion of settlement activities on Palestinian territories, saying they are “part of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing program. It is what they have been doing to Palestinian people.”
“Ethnic cleansing takes many forms. It isn’t just cleansing people. It is also destroying their culture, destroying their heritage, destroying their language and that is what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people,” said the political commentator.
The political commentator further said that Israel has become “very emboldened” in its settlement expansion and repressive policies against Palestinians under the Trump administration.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.