Sunday, January 22, 2017

Israel approves 566 east Jerusalem settler homes

Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem, plans that had been postponed until US President Donald Trump took office.

The city's deputy mayor said that city officials approved the plans that had been previously postponed at prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request in the wake of a UN Security Council resolution in December against Israeli settlement building.

Meir Turjeman said plans for some 11,000 other homes were also in process in east Jerusalem, though he did not say when they could be moved forward.

The new permits are for homes in the settlement neighbourhoods of Pisgat Zeev, Ramot and Ramat Shlomo, according to Mr Turjeman, who also heads the planning committee that approved them.

"The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump's arrival as president," he said.

"We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build."

Mr Netanyahu said he is to speak with Mr Trump later today, their first conversation since the billionaire businessman took office.

Mr Trump has pledged strong support for Israel and vowed during his campaign to recognise Jerusalem as the country's capital despite the city's contested status.

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