The Israeli government hasn’t really finished with damage control for their last massive settlement announcement, but that didn’t stop them from approving yet another today, with the Interior Ministry approving the construction of 1,500 settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem.
The settlement homes in this case had already been announced once before. They were the same settlement announced in early 2010, coinciding with Vice President Joe Biden’s visit. At the time Israel eventually abandoned the plan, because it was seen as timed to deliberately embarrass the vice president.
The settlement expanded is called Ramat Shlomo, a settlement of some 20,000 people in the northern part of the occupied eastern half of the city. The territory was part of that captured by Israel in 1967, and which despite not being recognized internationally the Israeli government has “annexed.”
This annexation has left Israeli officials claiming that the settlements in East Jerusalem are not technically settlements, but rather simply Jews-only neighborhoods in the “eternal, undivided” capital.
The US offered extremely minimal criticism for the new announcement, with the State Department saying that their position “has not changed” from the last time they criticized an expansion.
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