Under American pressure, Israel delays approval of a major settlement project in the West Bank Under American pressure, Israel delays approval of a major settlement project in the West Bank

Under American pressure, Israel delays approval of a major settlement project in the West Bank

Under American pressure, Israel delays approval of a major settlement project in the West Bank  On Monday, Israel announced the postponement of the approval of a large settlement project known as the "Atarot Project", which includes the construction of about 9,000 housing units for extremist Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, after a telephone conversation between the Israeli Prime Minister and the US Secretary of State.  An Israeli government planning committee on Monday postponed granting additional approval for a major settlement project in East Jerusalem that worries the United States and the Palestinians.  A proposal to build up to 9,000 housing units for extremist Jewish settlers, in a move that means the annexation of more occupied West Bank lands to the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, received initial approval last month.  However, the committee met again and took a decision not to move forward, citing the need for an environmental study, according to a statement by the Israeli Planning Administration. A timetable for further discussions was not provided.  Critics argue that the proposed project between East Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank would further dampen any Palestinian hopes for a future state.  "We hope that the government will use the time to reconsider the damage the plan does to peace prospects, the development of Jerusalem, and Israel's relations with the United States," said the Israeli Peace Now organization, which monitors and opposes Jewish settlement in the occupied territories.  The site previously included an airport and is known to the Israelis as Atarot. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the settlement plan as an attempt to complete the separation of Jerusalem "from our surrounding Palestinian region."  The Jerusalem municipal committee approved the project on November 24, prompting speculation in the Israeli media that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett might slow his steps toward final approval to avoid a row with Washington over settlement issues.  Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, while most world powers consider Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal.  An Israeli statement stated that the Atarot project was discussed Sunday in a call between Bennett and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, without giving details.  A State Department spokesman said Blinken urged Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from any unilateral steps, noting that "advancing settlement activity" could undermine any efforts to negotiate a two-state solution to end their conflict.

Under American pressure, Israel delays approval of a major settlement project in the West Bank


On Monday, Israel announced the postponement of the approval of a large settlement project known as the "Atarot Project", which includes the construction of about 9,000 housing units for extremist Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, after a telephone conversation between the Israeli Prime Minister and the US Secretary of State.

An Israeli government planning committee on Monday postponed granting additional approval for a major settlement project in East Jerusalem that worries the United States and the Palestinians.

A proposal to build up to 9,000 housing units for extremist Jewish settlers, in a move that means the annexation of more occupied West Bank lands to the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, received initial approval last month.

However, the committee met again and took a decision not to move forward, citing the need for an environmental study, according to a statement by the Israeli Planning Administration. A timetable for further discussions was not provided.

Critics argue that the proposed project between East Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank would further dampen any Palestinian hopes for a future state.

"We hope that the government will use the time to reconsider the damage the plan does to peace prospects, the development of Jerusalem, and Israel's relations with the United States," said the Israeli Peace Now organization, which monitors and opposes Jewish settlement in the occupied territories.

The site previously included an airport and is known to the Israelis as Atarot. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the settlement plan as an attempt to complete the separation of Jerusalem "from our surrounding Palestinian region."

The Jerusalem municipal committee approved the project on November 24, prompting speculation in the Israeli media that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett might slow his steps toward final approval to avoid a row with Washington over settlement issues.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, while most world powers consider Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal.

An Israeli statement stated that the Atarot project was discussed Sunday in a call between Bennett and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, without giving details.

A State Department spokesman said Blinken urged Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from any unilateral steps, noting that "advancing settlement activity" could undermine any efforts to negotiate a two-state solution to end their conflict.

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