Israeli authorities have approved permits for the construction of 82 new settler units in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in defiance of international calls on Tel Aviv to end the practice.
Israel’s non-profit organization Ir Amim announced on Tuesday that the units are to be constructed in two buildings and are part of plans unveiled in 2010 to add 1,600 settler units to the illegal Ramat Shlomo settlement.
Ir Amim, which opposes settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement that the permits had been approved on Monday.
During a conference on advancing the so-called peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in Paris on Friday, participants voiced “alarm” at the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.
“This is Israel’s response to the Paris peace summit,” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement, referring to the approval of the 82 new settler units.
He said the approvals serve “as yet another reminder to the international community to hold Israel liable for the crimes it continues to commit against the land and people of Palestine.”
On Monday, it was reported that Tel Aviv is planning to build over 15,000 new settlement units on the site of the abandoned Atarot airport, located between al-Quds and Ramallah.
The plan awaits approval by a local planning and building committee, according to a report by Israeli Walla news portal.
Israeli parliament member Nachman Shai warned on Sunday that the plan would draw a fresh wave of international condemnation.
Ir Amim denounced the plan as “a shame.”
“Instead of genuine plans to boost equality and reduce tensions in the city, they (Israeli authorities) are trying to sell the public controversial construction plans whose implementation is in doubt,” it said.
According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, excluding East al-Quds (Jerusalem), increased by about 14,000 in 2014.
Moreover, Israel started construction work on 1,913 new housing units in illegal settlements across the West Bank, not including East al-Quds, in 2015, and finished the construction of 2,033 housing units there, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East al-Quds.
By Press TV