News / Middle East

Israel Approves Construction of Over 1,000 New Apartments

A labourer works at the construction site of a new housing project at the Jewish settlement of Gilo in east Jerusalem, December 20, 2012
A labourer works at the construction site of a new housing project at the Jewish settlement of Gilo in east Jerusalem, December 20, 2012
VOA News
Israeli officials have approved the construction of more than 1,200 apartments in a Jerusalem neighborhood outside the pre-1967 Israeli borders.

The Interior Ministry's Jerusalem Building Committee gave final approval to the plan late Monday.

The project includes 930 apartments for immediate construction and around 300 that may be built at a later time in Gilo, a neighborhood in southern Jerusalem near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

The latest approval was part of a wave of some 5,300 new apartment units in Jerusalem okayed by Israeli officials since last week.  Those units are beyond the pre-1967 borders, also known as the "Green Line."

All members of the U.N. Security Council, except for the U.S., have condemned Israel's recent settlement expansion plans and called for them to end.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has challenged international opposition to his plans to build settlements on occupied land east of Jerusalem.

He accused the international community of having double standards for condemning not-yet-built settlements in the West Bank while remaining silent during a recent historic visit to the Gaza Strip by Hamas' exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal.

During his visit, Mashaal delivered a series of speeches vowing to wipe Israel off the map.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of any future state and reject settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem its "eternal, undivided" capital.

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