Israel Defies U.S. Wishes By Expanding Settlements In East Jerusalem
This only hurts the chances for a two-state solution.
A day after the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the status of the Palestinians, a senior Israeli official said the government would pursue “preliminary zoning and planning preparations” for a development that would separate the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem. If such a project were to go beyond blueprints, it could prevent the creation of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.
The development, in an open, mostly empty area known as E1, would connect the large settlement town of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. Israeli officials also authorized construction of 3,000 housing units in parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The timing of the twin actions seemed aimed at punishing the Palestinians for their United Nations bid, and appeared to show that hard-liners in the government had prevailed after days of debate over how to respond. That represented a surprising turnaround, after a growing sense that Israeli leaders had acceded to pressure from Washington not to react quickly or harshly.