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Israel okays 50 new settler homes in East Jerusalem
Published Monday 26/05/2014 (updated) 27/05/2014 14:42
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JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel on Monday approved plans for 50 new settler homes in annexed East Jerusalem as Pope Francis wrapped up a visit to the region, city officials said.

"The municipality has given the green light to build 50 new housing units in five buildings in Har Homa," city Councillor Yosef Pepe Alalu told AFP.

Har Homa is a settlement neighborhood in the southern sector of East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War then annexed, in a move not recognized by the international community.

The settlement was built in 1997 on a wooded hill top known as Jabal Abu Ghneim.

It was the first such announcement of Israeli plans to build on land seized in 1967 since the collapse last month of the US-led peace talks.

The talks had struggled to make headway due to an unrelenting flow of Israeli settlement announcements, which were roundly condemned by the PLO and international community.

Figures quoted by Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now show that during the nine months of talks, Israel approved plans for nearly 14,000 new settler homes.

The last time Israel pushed plans for new construction was on April 1 with the re-issuing of tenders for more than 700 new homes in Gilo in East Jerusalem.

The PLO has said they will not return to the crisis-hit talks without a complete settlement freeze.

But Israel has flatly refused, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejecting the notion that settlement building ran counter to peace efforts, saying he never agreed to any "restraints on construction" throughout the talks.
1 ) Mel / USA
26/05/2014 18:05
Israel is building its own ugly ghetto&burying itself alive,on beautiful,LIVING stolen Palestinian land.It looks like a blend of Jewish fortress,meets Brazilian favela & paranoid Zionist battlements.Look at the xenophobic mindset that goes into every brick of the ugly architecture.Zionism is WALLING Israeli Jews in,for NO LOGICAL REASON,as Zionism&Israel have been each others enemy for the last 80YRS.A dark,lonely,unwelcoming,schizoid,Jewish Balkan state.Thank God for Palestine!

2 ) Mel / USA
26/05/2014 18:13
Cont: Occupying Israel,from the coast to the Jordan River,doesn't even resemble a flourishing Mediterranean"Bride of the Sea"or Western democratic playground(as Western Zionism desired).It's so ugly,oppressive,exclusionist,racist,from landing to LEAVING.It's like ONE BIG PRISON,POW/concentration camp,not just for Palestinians,but for JEWS TOO!And anyone visiting Israel feels it even B4 they get off the plane & are filtered thru'the apartheid racist,bigotted system.Enjoy your isolation Israel!

3 ) Boneem / Scotland
26/05/2014 18:58
Jewish life in Europe is fast becoming unsustainable. A quarter of European Jews are afraid to wear distinctive Jewish clothing or jewelry, and 23% are afraid to go to Jewish events or venues. Nearly a third of all European Jews are currently considered emigrating, and need homes in the Jewish State of Israel. A major 2013 study found that two thirds of European Jews feel anti-Semitism (anti-Judaism in this case) has had a negative impact on their lives.

4 ) Quiche Lorraine / France
26/05/2014 19:02
Quite right too! Jewish homes for Jewish people, in the world's sole Jewish State. The Christians and Muslims, both have a multiple of countries, the Jews only have one.

5 ) Arnold / Canada
26/05/2014 19:44
I have no idea what those simpleton Palestinian leaders are thinking. Month by month all I see is more and more land being used for settler homes. Palestinian leadership rather than coming to a peace deal and getting solid borders is actually ALLOWING Israel to use up more land.

6 ) abdullah / Saudi Arabia
27/05/2014 00:03
the holy Quran states that all this land including Jerusalem belongs to the people of the book - the Jews.

7 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
27/05/2014 01:12
Fifteen years ago, Israel burnt down one of the rare forests in the district of Bethlehem in order to start a settlement on the land of Jabal Abu Ghneim. This settlement, Har Homa, popular with recent American and Swiss immigrants, is no neighborhood of East Jerusalem : it is still illegally annexed land belonging to the district of Bethlehem.

8 ) ian / australia
27/05/2014 02:45
(contd.) the Pope's bold photo op against a grafitti covered wall which read "Free Palestine" and "Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto" for all the world to see.

9 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
27/05/2014 05:49
Har Homa and Gilo were never Palestinian Arab settlements. Jerusalem was a divided city for only 19 of its 4000 year history. For the last 47 years it has been again an undivided city, the capital of Israel.

10 ) Israel is the ONLY COUNTRY / in the world
27/05/2014 09:03
that people OUTSIDE her think they can tell her where and what to build in her capital Very odd

11 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
27/05/2014 11:43
Har Homa was not there 15 years ago. Jabal Abu Ghneim was the site of one of the rare forests in the district of Bethlehem. It was burnt to the ground in 1999 and the new settlement begun. Har Homa is still in the illegally occupied land of the district of Bethlehem. In no way is it a "neighborhood of East Jerusalem".

12 ) ian / australia
28/05/2014 02:48
#9 "Har Homa and Gilo were never Palestinian Arab settlements." Are you a lawyer, Rondo Mondo? They might not have been "settlements" but they WERE Palestinian and unequivocally NOT in Israel. It took a war of aggression, illegal territorial gains and a bogus annexation (not recognised by anyone) to make them part of Israel. "Jerusalem was a divided city for only 19 of its 4000 year history." Novel but meaningless. Yes, it WAS "undivided" when Suleiman built the great perimeter wall in 1538

13 ) ian / australia
28/05/2014 02:49
(contd.) (the one still standing), but it was also Ottoman and (mostly) Muslim. And when Constantine built the Holy Sepulchre Church in 335 it was Roman. And before that, Persian, Babylonian and Egyptian. It was also an "undivided" Crusader (and Mandatory) city, so what does being "undivided" count for? It certainly doesn't strengthen the Israeli claim to East Jerusalem beyond the '67 line. And it has only been "for the last 47 years...again...the...undivided...capital of Israel" due to the

14 ) ian / australia
28/05/2014 02:50
(contd.) theft of Palestinian territory like Gilo and Har Homa.

15 ) ian / australia
28/05/2014 02:51
(contd.) the Pope's bold photo op against a grafitti covered wall which read "Free Palestine" and "Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto" for all the world to see.

16 ) ian / australia
29/05/2014 10:25
Israel's parting gesture to the Pope is tantamount to saying, "Don't let the doorknob hit you on the a** on the way out." Why is this state so vile? Jews have no feeling for messages of connectedness or universality or brotherly love like the Pope or Dalai Lama convey around the world. Jews respond to the triumph of Jews and the defeat of enemies. They like displays of power, dashing hopes, crushing morale, creating fear and despair. Or perhaps this poisonous farewell is a "price tag" attack for

17 ) ian / australia
29/05/2014 10:25
(contd.) the Pope's bold photo op against a grafitti covered wall which read "Free Palestine" and "Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto" for all the world to see.
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