Israel approves construction of 9,000 settlement units in Atarot

Israel has approved the construction of more than 9,000 settlement units in the Atarot Industrial Zone in the north of Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.

The construction work is scheduled to be completed before Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden assumes office, before Trump’s departure from the White House.

This step came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month, in the first-ever visit by a US secretary of state.

Aviv Tatarsky, whose organization, Ir Amim, opposes settlement expansion, said that the plan had been held up for technical reasons but was now ready for discussion at Jerusalem’s local planning and building committee.

He also noted that such projects harm efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the pre-1967 lines.

“The government is in a rush to advance huge settlements with the purpose of creating facts on the ground that will make it extremely difficult to realize a two state solution,” said Tatarsky.

He added, “But no amount of unilateral steps will erase the reality of millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation which is stepping ever closer to apartheid. The prosperity and well-being of Israelis will not benefit from the Atarot settlement but depend on undoing what Israeli governments have been doing for more than five decades.”

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