A hugely controversial set of settlement expansion plans, mostly in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, was announced today by the Israeli government, reviving a plan which was frozen back in 2012 under heavy international pressure.
The Ramat Shlomo plan was for 436 settlement housing units as part of a 660 unit plan back in 2010. This segment was frozen in 2012 amid harsh criticism from US and EU officials. Today’s announcement unfreezes these, and adds 18 m,ore units in Ramot.
Though the prime minister’s office didn’t offer any details on the reasoning, it is widely believed today’s move is “retaliation” for the European Union’s decision to label Israeli products differently if they come out of settlements in the occupied territories.
The settlements are considered illegal under international law, and that includes the ones in East Jerusalem, despite Israel’s attempted annexation of the region after its occupation. Though Israeli officials insist the settlements in East Jerusalem aren’t really settlements because of the annexation, they are still treated as such for foreign policy sake, and are still frozen as concessions and unfrozen out of spite.