Israel plans to construct hundreds of new settler units near occupied East al-Quds and the occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights, despite international outcry against the Israeli regime’s unlawful land grab policies.
According to a report published by TV7 Israel news channel, Karta company will build 104 settler units and several commercial structures in Har Gilo settlement, about five kilometers south of al-Quds.
Karta chairman Amichai Neiman described the multi-million-dollar project as “strategically important” since “it would be located at one of the highest points of the holy city, along the light railway and with a breathtaking view.”
He said the project is among those his company is set to undertake across al-Quds, including construction of thousands of settler units.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East 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.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Settler population in Golan Heights to quadruple
Separately, Israel plans to build two more settlements in the occupied Golan Heights and double its settler populations in the area.
Addressing a Monday conference about the Golan’s future, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett announced that the Tel Aviv regime would hold a special cabinet meeting on the occupied territory next month, where it would present a plan to double and eventually quadruple the Israeli settler population in the Golan Heights, up from almost 27,000 to 50,000, and then increase it to 100,000 settlers.
“The Golan Heights is Israeli, full stop,” he claimed.
He said Israel would build two settlements in the Golan Heights, create jobs for settlers, and invest in infrastructure and public services.
Bennett said the Biden administration had remained committed to former US president Donald Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as "Israeli".
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of its 1967 Six-Day War on Arab countries, which also saw the regime occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip.
Tel Aviv unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.
Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.
In March 2019, former US president Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the occupied Golan during a meeting with then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.
On Monday, hundreds of Syrians from the Druze community held a new protest against Israeli settlement policies over their land in the Golan Heights.
Almost 22,000 Syrian Druze live in the Israeli-occupied villages of Majdal Shams, Buqata, Masada and Ein Qiniyye, and are facing numerous Israeli settlement projects, including building wind turbines on their farming lands.
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