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Israel mulls building largest settlement inside Palestinian neighborhood: NGO

The photo taken on September 10, 2017 from Jabel Mukaber, a Palestinian neighborhood in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, shows the Israeli settlement of Nof Zion in the foreground. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli regime is thinking over granting construction permits that will create the largest settlement inside a Palestinian neighborhood, an NGO says.

According to Peace Now, an anti-settlement Israeli NGO, the Local Committee for Planning and Construction of Jerusalem al-Quds was discussing on Sunday issuing permits for constructing 176 settler units in the heart of the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, which is located east of the city.

The project allows for an expansion of the Nof Zion settlement as new houses, whose plans have already been approved, will be built on top of the existing 91 units.

According to the NGO, granting building permits for the new units is the last major bureaucratic step and the approvals will make Nof Zion the biggest Israeli settlement inside any Palestinian neighborhood.

Most settlements, particularly those that have been built in the occupied West Bank, are located outside of residential Palestinian areas.

“Within East Jerusalem [al-Quds], it's a very serious development. It's indicative of a trend that we're seeing of settlement expansion inside Palestinian neighborhoods” in the city, said Peace Now spokeswoman Anat Ben Nun.

Since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up construction of settler units on the occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

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