Defying the Security Council Israel accelerates settlements

ATEF SAFADI

Construction is underway in the Har Homa settlement near the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, 27 December 2016. Jerusalem municipality is expected to meet on 28 December to approve the building of new 618 new homes in East Jerusalem settlements. The United Nations (UN) Security Council on 23 December had adopted the Resolution No. 2334 against the Israeli settlements in 'Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East-Jerusalem'.

East Jerusalem is already home to half a million Israeli citizens


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Defying a UN Security Council Resolution on Saturday, the Jerusalem municipality is expected to authorize on Wednesday the construction of hundreds of illegal settlements.

The 390 building permits under consideration are for residential projects in occupied East Jerusalem, annexed after the 1967 war Reuters’ reports. That is a clear signal. Haaretz reports that this year Israel has approved the construction of 1,506 settlements as opposed to 395 homes in 2015. That means Israel will grand in one day the housing construction permits issued for the hole of 2015.

Israel is calling into question its relationship with the United Nations as such. Last Saturday, the US deviated from an established diplomatic tradition and allowed the Security Council to condemn illegal settlements with a 14-0 vote and a US abstention.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the US deviation from diplomatic tradition – for the first time since President Carter – as “shameful.”

Politically, the stakes are high for Netanyahu who is portraying himself as ready to take on the world, while settler leaders are calling for accelerated construction in East Jerusalem that will send a clear signal of contempt for the UN Security Council Resolution 2338.

The Obama administration and the EU member states strong oppose settlement policy. However, President-elect Trump is expected to change policy even more dramatically, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and perhaps will go as far as approving of illegal settlement policy.

Israel views Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel alone, which deviates from the precedent of negotiations for a two-state solution. There are already more than half a million Israeli citizens living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

epa05686979 Ambassador Danny Danon (R), Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, talks with a staff member after the United Nations Security Council voted to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 23 December 2016. The resolution passed as a result of a vote to abstain, and not a veto, from the United States. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Ambassador Danny Danon (R), Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, talks with a staff member after the United Nations Security Council voted to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 23 December 2016. The resolution passed as a result of a vote to abstain, and not a veto, from the United States. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

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