On Wednesday, a local Israeli committee advanced plans to construct over 3,500 new settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem.
According to the anti-settlement Israeli NGO Peace Now, some of the planned settler homes would largely cut off East Jerusalem from the southern part of the West Bank. The construction would further complicate plans for a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital.
A total of 1,465 homes would be built in southern East Jerusalem, and 2,092 would be built near Mount Scopus in northeast East Jerusalem. The plan still needs to be passed through a higher-level committee for final approval, and construction likely won’t begin for a few years. But once the approval process begins, it is hard to stop, according to Peace Now.
Israeli settlement expansion has slowed since President Biden, but that is only compared to the spike in settlements advancement during the final year of the Trump administration. In 2020, Israel advanced plans for 12,159 settler housing units in the West Bank, the highest recorded in one year since Peace Now began keeping track in 2012.
Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has made a two-state solution no longer a realistic option. The Israelis also have no interest in negotiating a peace deal with the Palestinians. On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said there will be no talks with the Palestinians under the current coalition government.