Israel OKs new construction projects in West Bank and East Jerusalem
Israel published two major new settlement plans on Tuesday. Over 1,000 homes were approved for construction in Arab East Jerusalem, along with a second plan to build 800 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
The State Department reacted by saying it was very unhappy when it learned of the plans to build in East Jerusalem. "We were deeply disappointed by the announcement of advance planning for new housing units in sensitive areas of East Jerusalem," said U.S. State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley. "It is counter-productive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties."
On his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed concern to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu about the new settlements. According to AFP, Ban "expressed concern at the resumption of the settlement activity and recent announcements of further settlement construction in east Jerusalem".