Nov 30, 2012 No Comments ›› Infidel
Excerpted from Bloomberg: Israel approved the construction of 3,000 new homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, less than 24 hours after the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member state.
Israel also intends to move forward on procedures necessary to plan further construction in a West Bank area between the Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem, two government officials said, speaking anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter. The Palestinian Authority, the UN and the U.S. consider all Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.
The 193-member General Assembly yesterday voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, for a resolution granting Palestinians a form of statehood on a par in the world body with the Vatican. The most significant ramification is that the new state may be able to join organizations such as the International Criminal Court.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today by text message that the nine countries that voted against recognition, including the U.S., took the “side of truth and the side of peace.” Netanyahu yesterday called the resolution “so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backward.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down in September 2010 after Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month building freeze in West Bank Jewish settlements and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he wouldn’t negotiate without a halt to all construction.
“Continued settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law” and “must cease,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement yesterday, according to the UN’s website.
The Israeli officials didn’t specify if the building announced today for Jerusalem would be in the eastern sector of the city, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their state.
Similar plans announced two years ago ahead of a visit by then Vice President Joe Biden strained ties between Israel and the U.S., its staunchest ally.
Jonathan Spyer, a political scientist at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said Israeli elections scheduled for Jan. 22 are probably among the motives behind today’s announcement.
“Elections time in Israel is a time for flag waving and gestures,” he said by phone. “Making this a direct response to the UN vote would be a very silly and childish approach.”