The Jerusalem municipality will likely approve the construction of hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem this week, days after the United Nations Security Council resolution angered Israel by labeling construction there as a “flagrant violation under international law.”
During the meeting, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee is expected to give the green light to the construction of 618 housing units, of which 140 are in Pisgat Zeev, 262 in Ramat Shlomo and 216 in Ramot, according to a report in the Haaretz daily.
The meeting to approve the construction of the homes was reportedly scheduled prior to Friday evening’s passage of UNSC Resolution 2334, which labeled all construction over the Green Line — land beyond the 1949 armistice line that Israel captured during the 1967 Six Day War — as illegal, including in Jerusalem.
Despite Jerusalem being Israel’s capital city, construction in the city’s east has long been condemned by the international community, which does not recognize Israel’s annexation of that half of the city. Israel says the city is united and maintains it has full rights to build anywhere in the capital.
The Jerusalem District Zoning Committee is also scheduled to meet on Wednesday, during which it will deliberate the construction of 5,600 homes in East Jerusalem, including 2,600 housing units in Gilo, 2,600 in Givat Hamatos and 400 in Ramot, Israel Hayom reported.
Construction in Givat Hamatos, a sparsely settled hillside near Jerusalem’s southern edge, has failed to get off the ground because of fierce international opposition, with critics saying the addition of Israeli homes there would cut off the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa from nearby Palestinian areas of the West Bank, making it more difficult to divide portions of East Jerusalem from the rest of the city.
Jerusalem municipal officials view the election of US President-elect Donald Trump as an opportunity to launch a building spree in East Jerusalem, which has been much lower in recent years due to pressure from the Obama administration.
Ir Amim, a Jerusalem-based NGO that monitors Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, wrote on Twitter on Monday that in the past month and a half over 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem have been approved, more than double the number approved last year.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who also chairs the Jerusalem District Zoning Committee, told Israel Hayom on Sunday that the recent UN resolution will have no effect on Israeli building plans in East Jerusalem.
“We remain unfazed by the UN vote, or by any other entity that tries to dictate what we do in Jerusalem,” he said, while adding that “I hope the Israeli government and the new US administration will support us, so we can make up for the lack [of construction] during the eight years of the Obama administration.”