Germany criticizes Israel for settlement building

December 19, 2011 15:17

German spokesman calls plan to build 1,028 buildings in WB and east Jerusalem "devastating."

1 minute read.

Palestinian workers build Kedumim settlement home

Palestinian workers build settlement home in Kedumim 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Germany criticized Israel on Monday for plans to build 1,028 new settlement buildings in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, DPA reported.

Deputy government spokesman Georg Streiter said that Israel's announcement was "devastating" and that it "undermines belief in Israel's willingness to negotiate." Berlin appealed for Israel to stop expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to DPA.

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Streiter's remarks follow Israel's announcement on Sunday that it plans to issue tenders to build 1,028 Jewish homes in east Jerusalem and two West Bank settlements.

The tenders will be issued for: 348 homes in the Betar Illit settlement in Gush Etzion, less than half a kilometer past the pre-1967 line;
180 homes in the Givat Ze’ev settlement, located north of Jerusalem, 4.9 km. over the pre-1967 Green Line; and 500 homes in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

Left-wing activists view Har Homa as one of the most controversial Jewish neighborhoods in the capital, because it was founded after the Oslo Accords were signed and because it creates a barrier of Jewish homes between east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods and Bethlehem.

City Councilor Elisha Peleg (Likud), who sits on the Local Planning and Construction Committee, welcomed the planned apartments, which would solve part of the housing shortage for young couples, recently released soldiers and working families, he said.

“There are no apartments here and it’s a good thing they’re building everywhere in Jerusalem, there’s no difference if it is over an historical line or not,” he said.

Netanyahu’s government has always insisted it has a right to build in Jerusalem.

Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel until it halts Jewish building in east Jerusalem and West Bank settlement activity.

Tovah Lazaroff and Melanie Lidman

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