Palestinians reject Israeli plan for settlement near Jerusalem | Israel-Palestine conflict news

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The PA calls for US intervention when Israel approves thousands of residential homes on the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem.

Israel has given initial approval to a plan that would expand Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries by building thousands of new illegal residences in occupied East Jerusalem, leading to a Palestinian demand for Washington to intervene.

On Wednesday, the municipality of Jerusalem lit up green what it described as a new eastern “neighborhood” on land that lies over Israel’s separation wall.

The area is sandwiched between the Palestinian district of Beit Hanina and Qalandiya’s military checkpoint, which separates Jerusalem from the Palestinian hub city of Ramallah.

The site, known to Israelis as Atarot, once housed Qalandiya Airport. It was closed after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, was designated in the former US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Plan as a Palestinian tourist zone.

The plan, which requires further stages of approval, is for 3,000 homes to be built, with a view to adding another 6,000 eventually, Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Arieh King told Reuters.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.

The two-state solution proposed by the Oslo Accords of 1993 envisioned that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel claims the entire city of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.

US-sponsored peace talks between the two parties stalled in 2014. Washington has since recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without explicitly supporting its claims to the entire city.

“This settlement plan aims to complete the separation of Jerusalem from our outer Palestinian territory … in an attempt to Israeliize it, Judaize it and annex it,” the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It called on the United States and other powers “to intervene immediately to halt these colonial projects and plans.”

The US Embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment.

About 700,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements on the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem has continued under every Israeli government since 1967.

However, construction has accelerated in recent years under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a significant boom under Trump’s US administration, which the Palestinians accused of gross pro-Israel bias.

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