Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local officials, a move that has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders.
The approval of the building plan on Sunday came two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump in the United States, with Israeli official saying the permits had been held up until the end of Barack Obama’s administration, which had been critical of Israeli settlement activity.
“The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Meir Turgeman, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, told AFP news agency.
“We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.”
Turgeman said that city officials approved the plans that had been previously postponed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request following a UN Security Council resolution in December against Israeli settlement building.
The new permits are for homes in the settlement neighbourhoods of Pisgat Zeev, Ramot and Ramat Shlomo, according to Turgeman, who also heads the planning committee that approved them.
Turgeman said plans for about 11,000 other homes were also in process in East Jerusalem, though he did not say when they could proceed.
Jerusalem is a contested part with Palestine which has led to many lives being lost. A two state solution would require Israel to let go of its claim on Jerusalem.
Last year, as a move against Trump, the united states vetoed a crucial vote at the UN. UN Security Council demands end to Israeli settlements, US abstains from vote
US President had indicated plans to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem a move that would further escalate tensions as it would endorse Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. Trump pledges to recognise Jerusalem as Israeli capital.