A man places the Palestinian flag on the Israeli separation wall, with Israeli settlements in the background. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
In a continuing policy of expanding illegal settlements and despite worldwide condemnation, Israeli officials have approved a project to build 820 new settler units in occupied Jerusalem.
On 3 June, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee signed off on the plan, which will be implemented in two phases, according to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC).
In response to the illegal expansion of settlements, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas described it as a “desperate attempt to extend control over Al-Quds (Jerusalem), obliterate its landmarks, and Judaize it.”
The news comes less than a week after tens of thousands of Israeli extremists took part in the supremacist Flag March in Jerusalem, injuring over 160 Palestinians as they chanted “death to Arabs” and “Shireen is dead.”
Last month, news broke that Israel was preparing to build 4,427 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
A report by activist group Peace Now states that a total of 2,791 housing units have received final approval from the Civil Administration Planning Committee and 1,636 units have been granted initial approval.
Since 1967, approximately 600,000 to 750,000 Israeli settlers have moved to live on land in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, where 2.9 million Palestinians live.
This colonization process is illegal under international law but has been maintained under all Israeli governments since 1967.
In March of this year, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced plans to establish illegal settlements in the Negev region to host Jewish refugees from Ukraine and Russia.
“We think tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of immigrants, will arrive from Russia, Ukraine, and former Soviet states,” Shaked said at the time.
However, concerns have been expressed that the plan to accept immigrants from Ukraine will further displace tens of thousands of Arab Bedouin citizens living in the Negev.
About 300,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in the region and have been subjected to numerous land grabs during the past eight decades.
Statistics show that Israeli authorities have taken over more than 95 percent of the land belonging to Arab Bedouins in the Negev region since 1948.