More illegal settlements approved by Israel

Israeli authorities gave final approval on Wednesday to the construction of 380 new settler homes in two areas of annexed east Jerusalem, a local official said. Final building permits can now be issued and once that has been done, construction may begin, Haaretz newspaper reported. About 200,000 Jewish Israelis live in settlement areas like Ramot that ring East Jerusalem to help cement Israeli control. The collapse of US-brokered peace talks, Israel’s war last summer in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and continued Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem have added to the distrust between Israel and Palestine.

The municipal commission has given construction permits for 307 homes in Ramot and 73 in Har Homa.

Yosef Pepe Alalu, a Jerusalem city councillor with the opposition Meretz party, told the AFP