Israel on Sunday advanced the planned construction of housing for Israelis in a highly sensitive area of East Jerusalem, an Israeli settlements watchdog said.
Israel’s Housing Ministry confirmed it issued a tender for the construction of more than 1,200 housing units in an area known as Givat Hamatos, meaning contractors can now submit proposals.
Peace Now said that Israeli construction in Givat Hamatos will “severely hamper the prospect of a two-state solution” to the conflict with the Palestinians because the Israeli neighbourhood would cut off East Jerusalem from Bethlehem.
The tender was first published in February, but since then 180 additional units have been added for a total of 1,257. The final day for submitting the proposals is January 18, 2021, just days before the change of the US administration.
The move may cause a confrontation with president-elect Joe Biden, a strong supporter of the two-state solution. Outgoing President Donald Trump has been an unprecedented strong supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing policies.
Some 600,000 Israelis live in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope to make the capital of their future state.
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