In a move condemned by peace groups as a cynical attempt to distract attention from the housing protests, the Israeli Interior Ministry today announced another expansion of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, with 930 new homes being planned in Har Homa.
The move was clearly linked to the housing crisis by Interior Minister Eli Yashal, who said that the settlement expansion was crucial in providing “small, affordable housing units” inside Jerusalem.
Except, of course, that the settlement units are not in Jerusalem, but are rather southern East Jerusalem, territory annexed by the Israeli military in 1967. Israel claims the settlement is within the “city limits” but its claim to the territory is not recognized internationally.
And the expansion of the settlement is likely to provide yet more tension with the Palestinian Authority, at a time when Israel was only two days ago pushing for new peace talks. The call for peace talks was offered if the Palestinians promised not to attempt to be recognized as an independent state by the United Nations.