Big news. Netanyahu claims yet another spoil from his political victory over Obama: Israel has approved another new settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, a new neighborhood of 2600 homes.
"Disastrous new plan to build new settlement in southeast Jerusalem is potential killer of peace agreement," Ori Nir of Peace Now tweeted yesterday. Peace Now, which broke word of the Hebrew announcement of the deal, calls the plan, "a game changer that significantly changes the possible border between Israel and Palestine."
The neighborhood is called Givat Hamatos and will be situated in the chink of land between Gilo and Har Homa above Bethlehem.
From the NYT report on the announcement:
Reacting to the news, the chief Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who was in Paris with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying it proved "the Israeli government wants to destroy the peace process and the two-state solution."
From the Peace Now report on the new settlement:
Unlike recent plans that caused controversy in Gilo and Pisgat Ze’ev which expanded the footprint of existing neighborhoods, the new plan creates an entirely new footprint of a new Israeli neighborhood in East Jerusalem...Parts of the plan for Palestinian construction? -there will probably be those in the Israeli government who will argue that the new neighborhood will not necessarily be only for Jews. Similar protestations were voiced in defense of the construction of the settlement of Har Homa, and eventually there wasn’t even one unit built for Palestinians in Har Homa.