JERUSALEM – Final approval has been given for the building of 1,600 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem by the Israeli interior ministry, according to the BBC. The ministry is expected to approve the building of a further 2,700 homes, an official has said.
This comes weeks ahead of expected moves by the Palestinian Authority to have a Palestinian state recognised at the United Nations. The campaign for recognition is strongly opposed by Israel.
Direct talks between the two sides are stalled, and there are no known current initiatives to get them re-started. The Israeli announcement has been criticised by Palestinian officials. “We strongly condemn the new Israeli decision,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. “[I urge the US] to reconsider their position rejecting the Palestinian move to go to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state… We call on [US President Barack Obama] to support this approach because it is the only way to preserve the two-state solution.”