Israel moved forward Wednesday with plans to build another 186 new homes in annexed East Jerusalem, according to a Jerusalem city councilor.
The plans would see construction of 40 new homes in Pisgat Ze’ev and 146 in Har Homa, both of them neighborhoods built on territory captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, Meretz City Councilman Yosef Pepe Alalu told AFP.
The move comes as the United States is pressuring both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to accept Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for peace and extend negotiations beyond the April deadline previously agreed upon.
The Palestinians are reportedly only willing to extend talks if Israel freezes construction in the settlements and commits to releasing more security prisoners.
The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said Tuesday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had presented US President Barack Obama — during a meeting in Washington on Monday — with a “very ugly map” depicting Israeli settlement construction throughout the West Bank.
According to Erekat, over 10,000 housing units were built on Palestinian-owned territory since the US-brokered peace talks commenced last year, the Guardian reported.
“We put a map to President Obama, showed him the extent of what happened since we began [negotiations] in July,” Erekat said during a speech at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington Tuesday, displaying what was apparently Abbas’s map.
“It is a very ugly map,” he said. “This was supposed to be land of the Palestinian state.”