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Israel pushing for more settler homes despite UN vote

JERUSALEM: Israel could advance plans this week for thousands more settlement homes in annexed east Jerusalem in defiance of a landmark UN resolution demanding an end to such activity.

It would mark the first such approvals since Friday’s United Nations Security Council vote demanding a halt to Israeli settlement building in Palestinian territory.

The resolution, which passed after the United States took the rare step of abstaining, infuriated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who lashed out at President Barack Obama and vowed not to abide by it.

On Wednesday, a Jerusalem planning committee is to discuss issuing building permits for 618 housing units in the mainly Palestinian eastern sector of the city, according to the Ir Amim NGO, which monitors settlement building.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman, who also heads the committee, has reportedly also spoken of seeking to advance plans for some 5,600 other units at earlier stages in the process. He told AFP there were no plans to call off discussions in response to the UN vote. The hundreds of building permits were on the agenda before the resolution was passed.

“We’ll discuss everything that’s on the table in a serious manner,” he said.

And on his Facebook page Turjeman said: “I’m not concerned by the UN or anything else trying to dictate our actions in Jerusalem.”

“I hope the government and new US administration will give us the momentum to continue and make up for the shortage created over the eight years of the Obama administration,” he said of settlement construction.

Israel has already taken diplomatic steps in response to what it calls the “shameful” resolution, which passed with support from all the remaining members of the 15-strong Security Council. The foreign ministry said it was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies of nations that voted for it.

On Christmas Day it summoned ambassadors of countries that voted for the resolution, while Netanyahu met US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro on Sunday.

courtesy : dawn news

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