DSC00504 on Flickr.
Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Near the Damascus Gate.

DSC00504 on Flickr.

Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Near the Damascus Gate.

Israel Plans to Build More Housing in East Jerusalem →

The Israeli government has submitted formal plans to build a new neighborhood of Jewish housing in a part of Jerusalem beyond the 1967 lines close to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the anti-settlement Israeli group Peace Now reported Friday.

The neighborhood, Givat Hamatos, would be situated on the southern flank of East Jerusalem, the part of the holy city that the Palestinians want as the capital for their future state of Palestine.

Peace Now, which opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, said in a statement that unlike other recent Israeli construction projects in East Jerusalem that had expanded existing neighborhoods, “the new plan creates an entirely new footprint of a new Israeli neighborhood in East Jerusalem.”

The practical consequence, the group said, would be to “complete the isolation between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem” and constitute “a game changer that significantly changes the possible border between Israel and Palestine.”

The project, which would create 2,610 homes, was first proposed a few years ago and must still undergo an eight-week appeal period under Israeli law. It would be the first entirely new Jewish area in Jerusalem since 1997.

Word that the Givat Hamatos project was proceeding injected new worries into the increasingly troubled relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and further dimmed hopes for a resumption of peace negotiations.

Reacting to the news, the chief Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who was in Paris with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying it proved “the Israeli government wants to destroy the peace process and the two-state solution.”

This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel established a committee to examine settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank. The government has promised to dismantle many of those outposts and there was concern that the committee’s true goal was to find ways to avoid that, although Mr. Netanyahu’s office denied that.

“We oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts, which is unhelpful to our peace efforts and would contradict Israeli commitments and obligations,” the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

DSC00699 on Flickr.

DSC00699 on Flickr.

The Moroccan Quarter - Al Quds/Jerusalem

The Moroccan Quarter - Al Quds/Jerusalem

idttirab:

القدس - Jerusalem

idttirab:

القدس - Jerusalem

This photo was taken of me inside of Masjid Al Aqsa today. I look high strung in it because I always feel timid about taking photos in such places and a Waqf Authority gentleman was taking it for me. I was very happy to go there one last time before I left. It was special.

This photo was taken of me inside of Masjid Al Aqsa today. I look high strung in it because I always feel timid about taking photos in such places and a Waqf Authority gentleman was taking it for me. I was very happy to go there one last time before I left. It was special.