24 hours after UN vote, Israel approves thousands of new settler houses
Rafet Dabash (not pictured), a Palestinian from the east Jerusalem district of Sur Baher, has his house destroyed by a bulldozer. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
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The Israeli government is planning to build 3,000 new units in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jersualem, in what many are calling an act of revenge for the UN bid.
The UN voted overwhelmingly in favor of Palestine becoming a non-member observer state on Saturday, upgrading it from its previous standing.
Both the US and the UK condemned the decision to approve further settlement building on Sunday. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said that "these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace".
One of the areas under consideration for the new homes is Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement of 40,000 inhabitants that separates East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
Hagit Ofran, head of the Settlement Watch project at Peace Now, told Al Jazeera that the announcement would not mean immediate construction. "There is no plan ready for implementation," she said. "In order to build, they must approve plans."
About 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 100 illegally-built towns and cities in the West Bank and East Jersualem. Palestinian officials said on Sunday that, despite Israel threatening to increase building if Palestine went to the UN, the new houses were in line with normal annual build numbers.
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