Israel plans settlement for East Jerusalem, Palestinians protest

Israel gave first approval for thousands on Wednesday new settlements that would cement the occupied West Bank territories within the municipal boundaries around Jerusalem, raising a Palestinian demand for Washington to intervene.

Most world powers regard Israeli settlements as illegal for occupying territory where Palestinians aspire to statehood.

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The Jerusalem Municipality gave the green light to what it described as a new eastern neighborhood on land located across the West Bank border, near the Palestinian central city of Ramallah. The site, which once housed an airport, is known to Israelis as Atarot.

The plan, which requires further approval phases, is to build 3,000 homes, with a view to adding another 6,000 eventually, Jerusalem deputy mayor Arieh King told Reuters.

Palestinians want the West Bank and Gaza Strip for a state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel considers the entire city its indivisible capital.

US-sponsored peace talks stalled in 2014. Washington has since recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without explicitly substantiating its claim to the entire city.

“This settlement plan aims to complete the separation of Jerusalem from our remote Palestinian territory…in an effort to Israeliize, Judaize and annex it,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It urged the United States and other powers “to intervene immediately to stop these colonial projects and schemes”.

The US embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment.

Read more: US does not need permission from Israel to open consulate: Palestine

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