Israel has approved the building of 78 new homes in two settlements on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem.
The decision is likely to aggravate Palestinian anger at a time when violence has flared, including a deadly attack on a synagogue in the city, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Jerusalem’s municipal planning committee authorised 50 new housing units in Har Homa and 28 in Ramot. Israel describes those two urban settlements as Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Unrest has grown in the past few weeks over access to the city’s most sacred and politically sensitive site, holy to both Jews and Muslims. On Tuesday, two Palestinians killed four rabbis and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue, the worst attack in the city since 2008.
Palestinians have also been angered by Israel’s recent plans for about 4,000 housing units on West Bank land annexed to the city.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said of the latest announcement: “These decisions are a continuation of the Israeli government’s policy to cause more tension, push towards further escalation and waste any chance to create an atmosphere for calm.”
Israel’s settlement activities have drawn criticism from the European Union and from the United States, which, like most countries, views the settlements as illegal.
Israel says Jews have a right to live anywhere in the city. It regards Jerusalem, including the parts of the city it captured in 1967, as its “indivisible” capital.
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