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Israel Defies Critics With East Jerusalem Settlement Plans

Israeli media reported Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ready to approve the construction of 1,000 new housing units in east Jerusalem.

Israel Defies Critics With East Jerusalem Settlement Plans
Getty Images / David Silverman

It’s a controversial policy critics say threatens an already fragile peace process.

Israeli media are reporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given the go-ahead for construction of 1,000 new housing units in parts of East Jerusalem. (Video via YouTube / IsraeliPM

According to Israel’s Channel 2 News, the settlement construction is designed to appease right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition government.

But his critics on the left condemned the news, with the Labor party saying: "Netanyahu is selling the political interests of the State of Israel for a few months on the prime minister's chair." 

So far, there's been no comment from the prime minister’s office on the reported deal.

But if true, it would mark another setback for the Palestinians who want to establish a future state in this land, with East Jerusalem as their capital. (Video via Press TV

Israel maintains its housing construction is legal, and the 500,000 Israelis who have settled there have a right to do so. Most of the international community disagrees, and sees the settlement building as an obstacle to peace.

That includes close ally, the United States, which has in the past been vocal about its opposition.

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON JOSH EARNEST: “This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies, poison the atmosphere, not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations."

The timing of the settlement reports is far from ideal. Tensions are still simmering from this summer's 50-day war in Gaza. And the past week, parts of Jerusalem have seen increased clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians, with militant group Hamas going as far as to declare a "Third Intifada."  (Video via RT

The riots came after a Palestinian man drove his car into a group of pedestrians last week, killing an infant and an Ecuadorian woman. (Video via Euronews

A senior Palestinian Authority official told reporters Israel’s housing plans would cause an “explosion” of violence.

This video includes images from Getty Images.