Monday, November 20, 2017

800 more housing units for Israelis in East Jerusalem


By E. VAN R - November 01, 2012
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Settlers] [Jerusalem]

On October 22, Israel once again officially announced a plan to construct more houses in occupied East Jerusalem. The settlement of Gilo, according to the plan, will be expanded by providing Jewish settlers up to 800 new homes.

The extension of the already existing settlement will be located in the south of East Jerusalem close to Bethlehem in the West Bank. Gilo already houses 40,000 Israelis in a mostly Palestinian area of East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem has been annexed by Israel after the 1967 War, a violation of international law and was never recognized by the international community.

UN resolution 252 states that the Security Council “considers that all legislative measures by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”

In response to Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, UN resolution 476 states that the Security Council “reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Despite the existence of these resolutions and the international community’s condemnation of these plans, Israel pursues its goal to occupy more land in East Jerusalem. This new plan is just another attempt to make it impossible for the Palestinians to establish their own state. As the map below clearly illustrates, the settlements Gilo and Har Homa will form an obstacle in preventing the West Bank and East Jerusalem from being contiguous. Palestinians hold on to their belief that Jerusalem is their capital city.

Inter alia, the European Union and the United States are always one of the first to condemn new settlement construction, despite being considered by Palestinians as just empty words. This time Israeli’s foreign mister, Avigdor Lieberman, responded to the EU representative Catherine Ashton’s condemnation to back off, and to focus on the EU’s internal problems instead.

This verbal sparring comes at a time where the EU and Israel are about to strengthen their relationship. The EU is Israel’s main trading partner. After the carnage that took place in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, the EU decided to freeze all trading relations with Israel. Now, however, the European Parliament has voted in favor of upgrading diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, under the ACAA protocol.

This agreement may result in importing products from illegal Isreali settlements to the European market. Therein lies the contradiction; while the EU condemnds the building of new settlements and extensions, products from the already existing settlements will be sold in the European supermarkets without any problem.

It is known that one of the requirements of the Palestinian Authority to restart negotiations with Israel is for the occupying state to halt settlement activities. The EU agrees that building more settlements represents a threat to the two state solution, but js not using its favorable positions in this agreement to put more power on Israel to stop its settlement activities.

Once again, the words of condemnation are shown to be part of a “show theater” to placate those who are suffering. It is a sad state of affairs when trade and profiting from an occupying state are given the precedent over undertaking genuine steps to stop the continuation and extension of Israel’s occupation.




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