December 3, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Jerusalem Municipality is set to authorize a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem later this month beyond the 1967 lines on annexed Palestinian territories.

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Kobi Kahlon confirmed to the Jerusalem Post on Monday that the final authorization of the neighborhood, Givat Hamatos, is set to include 2,610 housing units and will be given on Dec. 19.

The plan was supposed to be approved at a meeting two weeks ago, but was deferred since it was the last day of Operation Pillar of Defense, in which U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited the region in efforts to achieve truce.

"It's all connected to Clinton's visit," City Councilor Elisha Peleg, from the right-wing Likud Party, told the Jerusalem Post.

"We need to show we're an independent sovereign state and we're doing what we need to do, which is to build in all parts of Israel, " he added.

There are approximately 300,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, part of the Jerusalem municipality, on territories Israel annexed after the 1967 war. Most of them carry Israeli IDs and could enjoy all the services Israeli citizens get, but they are not allowed to vote in the elections. The citizens complain of deteriorating infrastructure, bad education system and prohibitions of building in their neighborhoods.

Over the past year, the municipality advanced several projects in east Jerusalem, including the establishment of a new national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus, a new Israeli Defense Forces college camp at the top of the mountain and a new landfill for building waste near the Arab neighborhood of Isawiyah village.

Attorney Daniel Seidemann, who has been keeping a close eye on the construction in east Jerusalem, said it is a deadly blow to the two-state solution.

"A Palestinian state must be territorially contiguous with a link to Jerusalem," Seidemann told the Ha'aretz daily, explaining why the construction in east Jerusalem and E1, the territorial stretch between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim and the biggest West Bank settlement, is a lethal blow to the two-state solution.

On Friday, the Israeli cabinet announced the building of 3,000 new housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, to the ire of the international community as well as center-left Israelis and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The punitive move was made in retaliation to the approval of the PNA's bid at the United Nations to be accepted as a non-member observing state.

Specifically, the international community took notice of the announcement of the planned construction in the E1 territories.

The Peace Now left-wing NGO, which monitors Israeli construction in the West Bank settlements, issued a report according to which Israel has issued a record number of housing tenders beyond the 1967 lines.

According to the report, 3,046 housing tenders were issued in the last decade over the pre-1967 lines and the number may rise to 6,046 with the recent authorization of 3,000 housing units.

Following the reports of the construction plans, the United States and the European Union have both harshly criticized the move, as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In addition, according to foreign reports, Britain and France are contemplating whether to return their ambassadors to Israel.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to a halt in 2010 over Israel's ongoing construction and expansion of the West Bank settlements.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017