Israeli occupation authorities on Monday advanced a plan to build nearly 500 settler units in a new settlement in east Al-Quds (Jerusalem) that rights groups say will further sever it from the nearby Palestinian city of Bethlehem and the southern West Bank.
The planned so-called Givat HaShaked settlement is part of a cluster of settlements on the southern edge of east Al-Quds, many of which have already been built up into full-fledged residential neighborhoods. Critics say they further undermine any hopes for the so-called two-state solution.
Ir Amim, an Israeli rights group that closely follows developments in Al-Quds, said the plan for the settlement was approved on Monday to be deposited for objections, a key step in a bureaucratic process that could continue for months before construction begins.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli municipality in occupied Al-Quds. Israeli officials in the city have previously said they are ‘committed’ to building in all areas of Al-Quds for the ‘benefit’ of Jewish and Arab residents.
The Zionist regime occupied the West Bank and east Al-Quds in the 1967 Mideast war and has built settlements across both territories that include now settlements to some 700,000 Jewish settlers.
The Israeli occupation annexed east Al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community. Palestinian residents of the city face systematic discrimination, especially when it comes to urban planning, making it extremely difficult for them to build new homes or expand existing ones.
The latest settlement will be built adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa, which is already mostly encircled by settlements, further preventing its growth.