Israel plan housing in disputed east Jerusalem

Israel's interior minister has given final authorisation to build 1,600 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem and will approve 2,700 more in days, officials said today.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office knows the construction plans are moving ahead, interior ministry spokesman Roi Lachmanovich said. An earlier approval for the 1,600-apartment project badly embarrassed Mr Netanyahu and caused a diplomatic rift with Washington because it coincided with a visit to Israel by US vice-president Joe Biden.



Palestinians oppose all Israeli construction in east Jerusalem because it chips away at their hopes to establish the capital of a future state in the holy city.



The approval for the apartments could also create new problems for Washington, which is trying to persuade the Palestinians to abandon their statehood bid and enter into negotiations with Israel instead.



Frustrated by a nearly three-year impasse in talks with Israel, the Palestinians said they will turn to the UN in hopes of receiving even a symbolic endorsement for statehood by the UN General Assembly.



On Tuesday, Washington rebuked Israel for advancing separate plans to build 930 apartments in another neighbourhood of east Jerusalem.



Mr Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev had no immediate comment on the latest project's final approval.



Mr Lachmanovich said the new apartments are necessary to address a housing shortage in the city.



"There's always something pending," he said, when asked about the timing of the approvals.



Actual construction is unlikely to begin for a number of years because building plans will have to go through multiple approval processes.



Negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis have ground to a halt, with each side accusing the other of violating existing agreements and not acting in good faith.



The Palestinians refuse to negotiate with the Netanyahu government as long as it continues to build in the West Bank and east Jerusalem - territories that would form the core of their future independent state.



Israel rejects that demand, arguing that previous rounds of talks moved ahead in tandem with settlement construction.



Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967 after capturing it from Jordan and does not consider the Jewish neighbourhoods it has built there to be settlements.



The international community, however, does not recognise the annexation, and regards the Jewish construction there to be no different from the Jewish construction in West Bank settlements.



Since 1967, 500,000 Jews have made their homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent