JERUSALEM: In the days following the UN Security Council’s resolution affirming the illegality of Israeli settlements, it is business as usual as the Jerusalem municipality is expected to approve about 5,600 more homes.
Israeli officials acknowledged that the move to expand the settlements in East Jerusalem was a direct response to the Security Council Resolution 2334 that was approved by 14 countries — Britain, Russia, China, France, Egypt and Spain among them — with the US abstaining.
In another retaliatory measure, Israeli media reported that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered Israeli security to end its cooperation on civilian matters with the Palestinians, although it will continue its coordination efforts on policing measures.
Yet it is the expansion of settlements that is the result of Benjamin Netanyahu’s ire at the countries that affirmed the resolution and the US abstention that paved the way for the unanimous vote.
The resolution, Netanyahu said, was “part of the swan song of the old world that is biased against Israel, but, my friends, we are entering a new era,” he said of Donald Trump’s imminent presidency.
Trump reacted after the vote by promising change at the UN. “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” he tweeted referring to the date of his inauguration.
Jerusalem’s Local Planning and Building Committee is expected to approve 2,600 housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, 2,600 others in Givat HaMatos, and 400 units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement.
— WITH INPUT FROM REUTERS, AFP