Israel planning to build religious seminary in controversial east Jerusalem
An Israeli planning committee is moving forward with plans to build a nine-storey Jewish seminary in the heart of a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood near Jerusalem's Old City, a watchdog reported Wednesday.
The tower block is set to be built in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the highly controversial annexed east Jerusalem, with plans being deposited for consulation, settlement watchdog Peace Now said Wednesday, according to Agence France Presse.
The general public will have 60 days in which to put forward any objections to the plans.
"The plan was supposed to be discussed and approved a few weeks ago, however it was postponed -- most probably due to political reasons," Amihai added.
"It's not a game changer but it's on a piece of land in Sheikh Jarrah which has already suffered a lot. It's a very sensitive area and I think the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] knows it."
East Jerusalem was captured by Israeli forces during the Six-Day war of 1967. It was later annexed by the Israeli government, a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its "eternal, indivisible" capital and does not see any building done in the eastern part of the city as settlement building.
The Palestinians also claim Jerusalem to be the capital of their promised state, an issue which is currently under discussion in the U.S.-led negotiations between the two sides as they strive to make peace progess before the talks' April deadline.
Both the Palestinians and the international community consider all Israel construction on land seized in 1967 to be a violation of international law, according to AFP.