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Israel plans to build 15k settler units in East Jerusalem al-Quds

A picture taken on April 16, 2017 shows a general view of the Jewish settlement of Ateret west of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

Israel’s Housing Ministry says the Tel Aviv regime plans to construct 15,000 new settler units in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds in defiance of international opposition.

Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant said Friday that the ministry and the so-called Municipality of Jerusalem al-Quds had been working for two years on the plan to build 25,000 units in Jerusalem, including 15,000 in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

"We will build 10,000 units in Jerusalem and some 15,000 within the (extended) municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. It will happen," Galant told Israel Radio.

The plan was quickly denounced by Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, who described the move as a systematic violation of international law and a "deliberate sabotage" of efforts to resume the so-called peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, speaks during a press conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ariha (Jericho) on February 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

"All settlements in occupied Palestine are illegal under international law," he noted in a statement.

Erekat stressed, "Palestine will continue to resort to international bodies to hold Israel, the occupation power, accountable for its grave violations of international law throughout occupied Palestine."

The last round of the so-called peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in April 2014. Tel Aviv’s settlement activities were among major reasons behind the failure of the talks.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law as they are built on the occupied territories. 

The plan is expected to be announced on the so-called "Jerusalem Day" when Israel celebrates its occupation of the eastern part of the city, which falls this year on May 24, according to Channel 2 news.  

The announcement coincides with the visit of US President Donald Trump, who has given the green light to the expansion of settlements. Trump’s trip will take place on or shortly after May 22.

The news comes a day after Trump said in an interview that he wanted to see a peace deal.

"I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians," he said, adding "There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians - none whatsoever."

Trump's call comes while Palestinians want the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, as part of a future Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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