Israel approves the construction of settlement units in the West Bank and changes the names of Arab streets in Jerusalem


Israel approves the construction of settlement units in the West Bank and changes the names of Arab streets in Jerusalem


The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said that the Higher Council for Planning and Building in the Civil Administration, the executive arm of the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian territories, made the decision after discussions that lasted for several hours.

On Wednesday, the Israeli government approved the construction of 3,144 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said the Higher Council for Planning and Building in the Civil Administration, the executive arm of the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian territories, made the decision after discussions that lasted several hours.

This is the first time that the Israeli government has approved the construction of new settlement units, since the inauguration of US President Joe Biden earlier this year.

The current Israeli government headed by Naftali Bennett, announced last week the publication of tenders to build 1,300 settlement units in the West Bank, the construction of which was approved by the previous government (headed by Benjamin Netanyahu) over the past years.

The new Israeli decision comes despite American protests.

On Tuesday, the US State Department called on Israel to refrain from unilateral steps, including settlement construction.

And the Israeli Walla news website said on Wednesday that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, during which he protested the settlement decisions.

The Israeli website indicated that the call was "tense."

Data from the Israeli human rights movement, Peace Now, indicate that there are about 666,000 Israeli settlers, 145 large settlements and 140 random outposts (not licensed by the Israeli government) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has not commented on the Israeli move so far.

change street names

However, in a separate context, the Palestinian Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs condemned on Wednesday the Israeli authorities' change of names of a number of streets in the city of Jerusalem, especially the Old City, from Arabic to Hebrew.

This came in a statement issued by the ministry, in response to Israel's attempt on Tuesday to change the names of streets in the Old City of East Jerusalem from Arabic names to Hebrew.

The ministry said: "The occupation authorities reflect on everything that would change the features of the Arab and Palestinian city through a series of measures aimed at Judaizing the city."

She added, "What is happening is like an open war against everything that is Palestinian and Arab in the city, through which the Israeli occupation is trying to rob and steal the history of the city and its residents and replace it with false names that have nothing to do with history or place."

The ministry stressed that "Al-Wad Street will remain Al-Wad Street, Bab Al-Amoud will remain Bab Al-Amoud, and the Yusufiya cemetery will remain the Yusufiyah cemetery, despite the theft and forgery that take place in full view and hearing of the whole world."

And she added: "All plans of family and Judaization will be destroyed on the rock of steadfastness of the Jerusalemites who have proven by deeds that they are loyal to their city."

The ministry called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to "intervene in order to stop this Israeli tampering with the city's culture and history."

And on Tuesday, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem affixed the name “Hajfora Square (Heroes)” on Al-Wad Street leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Islamic Quarter of the Old City, according to the Anatolia correspondent.

He added that the name was placed on a stone plaque in a wall on Al-Wad Street, while it was not immediately clear whether other similar steps would follow.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.
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