Israel authorizes 3,000 new settlements in the occupied territories

Israeli Israel Jerusalem Palestinian

Israeli authorities will allow the construction of 3,000 new settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The decision follows Thursday’s UN General Assembly vote to upgrade Palestinians’ diplomatic status to ‘non-member observer state’.

Celebrations within Palestine that the UN has implicitly recognized its right to statehood might be short-lived according to the latest Israeli media reports.

Apart from approving construction on 3,000 new housing units in the occupied territories, Israel’s “security cabinet,” a forum of nine top Israeli ministers lead by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will also go ahead with planning procedures for another 1,000 housing units in the area E1 that connects Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.

The location of the settlements is in line with Israel’s “strategic interests map.”

Ma’aleh Adumim, located along the highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is currently the third-largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, will also be a site for settlement construction.

"Israel is considering several other actions in response to the unilateral Palestinian UN move," Channel 10 cites a government official as saying.

Other potential measures which have floated around Israeli policy circles have included annulling the 1993 Oslo Accords which provided for the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, annexation of large settlement blocs, and deducting some NIS 800 million from taxes collected on behalf of the PA to cover money owed to the Israeli Electric Cooperation, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the decision “a slap in the face of the world that voted in favor of a Palestinian state,” The Times of Israel cites him as saying.

“This action will leave Israel further isolated, after the entire world spoke out yesterday against the occupation,” he continued ( via ).