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
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss