Skip to main content

Israel approves permits for new settlements in East Jerusalem

By Kareem Khadder, CNN
updated 7:23 AM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
A Palestinian man's (pictured) house was demolished by Israeli authorities on February 5, 2014 in Jabel Mukaber.
A Palestinian man's (pictured) house was demolished by Israeli authorities on February 5, 2014 in Jabel Mukaber.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Under international law, new settlements in the disputed area are illegal
  • Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be part of their future state
  • Israel considers Jerusalem its capital

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israel approved construction permits for more than 550 settlement units in East Jerusalem, officials said, escalating tensions with Palestinians amid negotiations.

The city council committee Wednesday evening approved issuing the construction permits, which is considered the last stage before building of settlements can start.

"The local planning and building committee had dealt with request of private enterprises to approve building permits for 386 units in Har Homa, 136 units in Neve Yakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev for plans approved years ago," the Jerusalem municipality said in a statement.

The areas are considered disputed, with settlements illegal under international law.

Israeli barrier threatens heritage site
Palestine: The facts on the ground
Israel fears outcome of Syrian fighting

A member of the municipality council rejected the plans.

"I oppose to this annexation for new buildings, what Israel and the municipality are doing is constructing unilaterally without consultation with anyone," said Pepe Alola, who also serves as chairman of Meretz party.

An Israeli settlement watch group described it as another blow to peace efforts.

"It's a shameful decision for a government that seeks a solution for a two-state solution would choose to issue so many permits for settlements units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This is not the first time ... just another development of making a solution for Jerusalem much more difficult," said Lior Amihai, deputy director of Peace Now.

Palestinian officials said it will sabotage ongoing talks between the two sides.

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is deliberately sending a strong message to the United States, Europe and the rest of the world that he has no intention of adhering to international law and the will of the international community," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Executive Committee.

In July, U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry engaged Israelis and Palestinians to start a nine-month negotiation process that will lead to a framework on future agreements.

As the April deadline nears, efforts have not yielded any agreement.

Israel seized Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the city unilaterally, a move the international community does not recognize.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be part of their future state in any final status negotiations.

Israel considers Jerusalem its "eternal and undivided " capital.

READ: Kerry in Mideast to propose peace framework

READ: Israeli defense minister apologizes for comments about Kerry

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex, agents caught up with a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back terror to Europe.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic performers from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT