- Title: Israel approves settler building in E.Jerusalem ahead of Kerry speech
- Date: 28th December 2016
- Summary: JERUSALEM (DECEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) IR AMIM DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BETTY HERSCHMAN WALKING IN THE NGO OFFICE IN JERUSALEM, SIGN ON WALL SAYS IN HEBREW, ENGLISH AND ARABIC "IR AMIM" (CITY OF NATIONS) VARIOUS OF HERSCHMAN WORKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) IR AMIM DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BETTY HERSCHMAN, SAYING: "So today we've been watching a masterful shell game being played. This morning, hundreds of building permit approvals were removed from the agenda of the local committee. And this afternoon, the local committee approved permit for new building in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwan, it's the stage for a massive takeover campaign by a settler organization, Ateret Cohanim, to displace 100 Palestinian families - some 600 men, woman and children, so essentially, they could not have approved and worked the more combustible building permit this afternoon." HERSCHMAN TALKING TO REPORTER (SOUNDBITE) (English) IR AMIM DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BETTY HERSCHMAN, SAYING: "The impact is corrosive, both to the Palestinian community, the people living in it, the fabric of the community, all of the Palestinian neighbourhoods around the historic basin and also imperils a two state solution, by consolidating Israeli control of the Old City and historic basin in lieu of and in advanced of any kind of negotiation that might take place in the future."
- Embargoed: 12th January 2017 16:56
- Keywords: Israel Palestinians settlements Jerusalem Netanyahu
- Location: JERUSALEM
- City: JERUSALEM
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0025ESSMDJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Israeli Education Minister and Jewish Home Party head Naftali Bennett sent a message to Secretary of State John Kerry just before the latter's policy speech on the Arab-Israeli conflict on Wednesday (December 28).
"Secretary Kerry, a few days ago the United Nation Security Council voted for a shameful resolution -- a resolution that essentially says that Jerusalem is an occupied territory. Well, Jerusalem was the Jewish capital 3,000 years ago; it is in the Bible, just open it up. No U.N. resolution and no speech can change the fact that Jerusalem has always been and will always be the Jewish eternal capital," minutes before Kerry gave his address.
Israel approved construction of a multi-storey building for settlers in annexed East Jerusalem on Wednesday, an NGO said, after postponing authorisation of hundreds of other homes ahead of a speech on the Middle East by the U.S. secretary of state.
The Obama administration provoked the Israeli government's fury on Friday by failing to block the passage of an anti-settlement resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
Secretary of State John Kerry was to give further voice to international opposition to settlements in an address at 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT) that a State Department official said would lay out his vision for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hours before Kerry's speech, a Jerusalem municipal committee pulled back from approving 492 new homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem, an area that Israel captured along with the West Bank in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The chairman of the committee and one of its members said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked for the vote to be delayed, concerned approval for those projects would add ammunition to Kerry's expected anti-settlement arguments.
A spokesman for the Israeli leader declined to make immediate comment. The panel meets regularly and the building projects that were removed from the agenda on Wednesday could come up for a vote in the future.
Ir Amim, a group which opposes Israeli settlement in occupied territory where Palestinians seek to establish a state, said the committee nonetheless permitted construction of a four-storey building for settlers in Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood where they have been expanding their enclave.
"The impact is corrosive, both to the Palestinian community, the people living in it, the fabric of the community, all of the Palestinian neighbourhoods around the historic basin and also imperils a two state solution, by consolidating Israeli control of the Old City and historic basin in lieu of and in advanced of any kind of negotiation that might take place in the future," said Ir Amim's director of international relations, Betty Herschmann.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None