AMMAN: Israel announced plans on Wednesday for more than 1,000 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, some intended as “punishment” for Palestinian attacks.
Of the 1,004 homes approved by a Defense Ministry committee, 370 are in the Adam settlement near Jerusalem, where an Israeli was fatally stabbed in July. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had pledged to build 400 new homes there in response.
The Israeli NGO Peace Now said almost all the new houses “are in isolated settlements that Israel will likely need to evacuate within the framework of a two-state agreement.”
The group said settlement plans increased to 6,742 houses in 2017 compared with 2,629 the previous year. Plans had been advanced for 3,794 homes so far this year, it said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders on Wednesday rejected overtures by US President Donald Trump after he said they would get something “very good” in exchange for US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Senior Palestinian official Ahmad Al-Tamimi said Trump’s assertion that he had removed Jerusalem from future negotiations was “a continuation of the US policies in favor of Israel.”
The president’s push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was impossible without “recognizing east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” he said.
Earlier Trump told a rally in the US state of West Virginia: “Every time there were peace talks they never got past Jerusalem. In the negotiations, Israel will have to pay a higher price because they won a very big thing.
Now Jerusalem’s off the table, the Palestinians will get something very good because it’s their turn next.”