Israel has announced plans to build thousands of new settler units in occupied East Jerusalem showing disregard for agreements reached with the Palestinian Authority.
Israel’s Lands Administration has released a plan to construct 2,610 new residential units, two-thirds of which are designated for Israeli settlers in Givat Hamatos to create a settlement belt around East Jerusalem, Ha’aretz reported on Friday.
The news has drawn criticism from the US and European officials.
Analysts expect the plan to be approved swiftly as the decision-making committee for the new settlement is mostly comprised of right-wing officials.
The scope and the location of the plans conform to Tel Aviv’s scheme to connect the occupied Arab city with Ma’aleh Adumim – Israel’s third largest settlement in the West Bank. The plan also accords with other Israeli initiatives to expand its control beyond the 1967 borders.
Earlier this week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an order to set up a task force to explore ways to legalize unauthorized settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land.
The international community considers all settlements built in the occupied West Bank to be illegal.
In an August communiqué, the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People expressed concern over Israel’s approval of 5,200 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem in August alone.