Israel OKs illegal settler building in East al-Quds neighborhood: NGO

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An Israeli NGO says the Tel Aviv regime has approved the construction of a four-story building for Israeli settlers in an East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood despite widespread calls to end the illegal practice.

Ir Amim, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories, said the Jerusalem District Zoning Committee gave the green light on Wednesday to erect the structure on a vacant plot in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

“Today, while attention has been focused on the removal of… building permits… the committee proceeded to approve a controversial project in one of the most flammable neighborhoods in East Jerusalem,” the organization said in a statement.

The move came at the same time that the Israeli committee postponed requests for building permits for almost 500 illegal settler homes in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

It also came hours before a speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

UN vote on Israeli settlements ‘historic’

In another development on Wednesday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh hailed an anti-settlement resolution adopted recently at the United Nations Security Council.

He made the remarks after meeting his Palestinian counterpart Riad Malki and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“A few days ago we witnessed a historic moment with the Security Council adopting a decision that prohibits settlements and considers it illegal by international law, and I think this is one of the most important decisions that the Security Council has taken over the Palestinian issue,” Judeh said.

The landmark resolution, which condemned Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law,” was passed with 14 votes for and one abstention on December 23.

Hundreds of Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

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