A Jerusalem committee approved the construction of over a thousand homes in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem late Monday, less than a week after Israel was condemned by the international community for approving building elsewhere in the capital.
The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved plans for 1,242 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood, which lies across the Green Line in southern Jerusalem.
The announcement came a week after the council approved 2,612 units in Givat Hamatos and 1,500 units in Ramat Shlomo, also Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line annexed by Israel but claimed by Palestinians as part of their state.
Givat Hamatos and Gilo, together with Har Homa, extend the capital to the outskirts of Bethlehem. Critics say the construction will cut off the Arab neighborhood for Beit Safafa from the Palestinian Authority.
Israel has come under intense international criticism for the planned construction in Jerusalem and other projects in the West Bank, including the controversial E1 corridor, which links Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.
On Monday, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said that Israel will continue to build beyond the Green Line despite international condemnation, echoing comments made last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Gilo construction plans have been in the works for some time, and were approved despite objections by some residents. Walla on Tuesday reported that construction on most of the approved units could begin immediately after construction bids are approved.