Arab League (AL) Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi has slammed Israel’s plan to construct new illegal settlement units in the Gilo neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Al-Arabi called the decision a “scandalous violation of international law” and said it proves Israel’s lack of desire for peace, dpa reported on Thursday.
He further criticized the policy of the US in the region, saying it had failed to act as a mediator between Israel and Palestine and to bring an end to the settlement constructions.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had on Wednesday dismissed international calls to revoke the decision.
Mark Regev said that Gilo is built on land captured by Israel in 1967 and that the site is therefore neither a settlement nor a settlement outpost but a neighborhood which constitutes an integral part of the center of al-Quds.
Israel annexed the area after its capture, but the move was never recognized by the international community.
Tel Aviv authorized the plan on Tuesday, saying it was one of the phases of a multi-year process for the expansion of Gilo.
The approval, however, was immediately condemned by the United Nations, the European Union, the US as well as the UK.
Moreover, the decision came days after Netanyahu invited Palestinians for direct talks while addressing the UN General Assembly, saying the decades long conflict between the two sides could only be resolved through negotiations.
Palestinians have repeatedly said that new round of talks with the Israeli regime cannot be resumed unless there is a complete halt in settlement expansion activities.
The controversial move also came days after Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas handed in his request for full UN membership for an independent Palestinian state.
Palestinians want East al-Quds as the capital of their future state.