Israel advances construction of 181 homes in east Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli planning authorities issued building permits for 181 new homes in east Jerusalem Wednesday, drawing a harsh rebuke from the United States.
Jerusalem spokeswoman Brachie Sprung said plans in the Gilo area were first approved in 2012 and that Wednesday’s approvals were for “technical details of plot distribution.”
She said more detailed building permits will be required before the units are built. But the approval nonetheless raised hackles in the U.S. State Department.
“We strongly oppose settlement activity,” spokesman John Kirby told reporters, accusing Israel of actions that “risk entrenching a one-state reality” and raise serious questions about the Jewish state’s commitment to a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.
Israel captured east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.
Israel subsequently annexed east Jerusalem and considers areas like Gilo to be neighborhoods of its capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital, and most of the world considers settlement construction there and in the West Bank illegal or illegitimate.
In October, the State Department lashed out at Israel for approving a new settlement in the West Bank soon after the U.S. agreed to a $38 billion military aid package for Israel.
Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.