Israel approves hundreds of settler homes in east Jerusalem

Israel approves hundreds of settler homes in east Jerusalem
Hundreds of settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem have been approved by Israeli authorities, despite a landmark UN resolution demanding an end to the illegal activity.
2 min read
22 January, 2017
Settlements are illegal under international law [Getty]

Israel has approved building permits for 566 houses in three east Jerusalem settlements, despite a landmark UN resolution demanding an end to such activity.

The Jerusalem municipality green-lighted the constructions, which are considered illegal under international law, two days after US President Donald Trump took office.

Chairman of Jerusalem city hall's Planning and Building committee Meir Turgeman told Israel Radio on Sunday the permits were held up until the end of the Barack Obama administration, which was critical of Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

The approval comes on the same day Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would speak with Trump by telephone, their first talks since the billionaire businessman took office.

Since Trump's election victory in November, right-wing Israeli politicians have hailed the outcome as a triumph for Israel and its continued policy of building illegal settlements.

As well as promising to move the US embassy to Jerusalem – a move that would effectively recognise Israel's sole ownership of the city – Trump has also made a number of pro-Israel appointments to his team.

US and others say continued settlement building is steadily eating away at the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.