Plans for over 4,000 new settlements near Jerusalem have been approved by the government of Israel.
2,610 housing units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos have been approved – hot on the heels of announcements made at the end of November and Monday’s approval of 1500 new units in Ramat Shlomo.
The EU has denounced the move as “jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state”. The main issue being the way in which new developments at Givat Hamatos will interrupt the geographical continuity between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. This would undermine the prospect of Jerusalem becoming the future capital of the two states.
Catherine Ashton, the Foreign Affairs representative of the EU said in a statement:
“In the light of its core objective of achieving the two-state solution, the EU will closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act accordingly.”
Whilst lighting the eighth candle of Chanukah at the Western Wall on 15th December 2012, the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, made the following statement :
“In recent days, I have heard that the Palestinians are saying that the Western Wall is occupied territory. I want to tell them from the closet possible place to the miracle of the jar of oil: The Western Wall has been ours for 3,000 years, and it and the State of Israel will be ours forever.”
Mr Netanyahu is leading the charge on foreign policy as part of an election campaign for seats in the Knesset. The Knesset elections will be held on 22 January 2013.