Israel Begins Expansion of Housing Into Contested Region - Report
Israel is reportedly building housing in E1, a move called a "death knell" to Israeli-Palestinian peace
Palestine was granted non-member status in the United Nations Thursday night and Israel has apparently responded by taking steps toward building housing in a controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1. The expansion of housing would make it impossible to connect the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Jewish settlements in that region have long been seen as the "death knell" for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to The New York Times.
The Times reports that a senior Israeli official, who remained anonymous, said the decision was made late Thursday night to move forward on “preliminary zoning and planning preparations” for housing units in E1, which would connect the large settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. Israel also authorized the construction of 3,000 housing units in other parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the official said.
"We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction,” an unnamed member of the US State Department told The Times. “We believe it is counterproductive and makes it harder to resume direct negotiations and achieve a two-state outcome.”
Hagit Ofran, who runs the Settlement Watch project of Peace Now, called E1 a “deal breaker for the two-state solution” and denounced the decision as “disastrous.”