Israel has approved plans to construct over a thousand new settler units in the settlement of Gilo in Tel Aviv-occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem), despite growing international condemnation. An Israeli planning and building committee on Monday decided to proceed with its plans to build 1,200 illegal settler units in Gilo. Gilo is among five major settlements in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) that were developed by Israel following its Six-Day War of 1967, which brought the Gaza Strip, East al-Quds, and the West Bank under Tel Aviv’s occupation.
The plan to expand the Gilo settlement came amid rising condemnation by the international community over Tel Aviv’s plans to construct as many as 6,500 more settler units on the occupied Palestinian territories.This includes the regime’s plan to build 2,610 settler units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos, a village located in the south of al-Quds. They also approved the construction of 1,500 settler units in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo, located in the north of East al-Quds. The plans sparked widespread international condemnation. The member states of the UN Security Council, except the United States, condemned Israel’s plan on December 19, and called for an immediate halt to the settlement plans. On the same day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that building more settlements on the occupied territories could be “an almost fatal blow” to future talks between Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also issued a statement on December 20, condemning Israel’s plans to build more settler units. Israeli plans were announced after the 193-member UN General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions on November 29 to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from non-member observer entity to non-member observer state. The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because of their construction on occupied territory, and are thus seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied territories. SAB/HN/HJL