The Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee has approved another significant expansion in the occupied West Bank this week, signing off on another 891 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, adding to a previous April construction which expanded Gilo into a forested area.
The plan was tentatively approved by the Israeli government back in November, but final vote was delayed on it because of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the US, as Israeli officials hoped to keep the latest expansion out of the headlines.
Israel often faces serious criticism of settlement expansions, but the moves to expand Gilo have been particularly controversial, as they appear to be designed specifically to block the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.
Officials didn’t address the Palestinian issue in the expansion announcement, but rather declared the move as an effort to “strengthen” Jerusalem by expanding settlements across the Green Line.
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