TEL AVIV – Days after the UN anti-settlement resolution was passed at the United Nations Security Council, the Jerusalem municipality is set to approve the construction of hundreds of homes in eastern parts of Jerusalem this week.
The meeting to green light the construction of 618 housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods captured in the 1967 defensive war was scheduled prior to the Security Council resolution that calls settlements a “flagrant violation under international law.”
The Jerusalem District Zoning Committee is also scheduled to approve the construction of 5,600 housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line – which the resolution defined as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Israel maintains that the Jewish state’s capital will remain united and that it has the right to build anywhere in the city.
Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Meir Turgeman, who chairs the zoning committee, told Israel Hayom that the UN would not affect its commitment to building.
“We remain unfazed by the UN vote, or by any other entity that tries to dictate what we do in Jerusalem. I hope the Israeli government and the new U.S. administration will support us, so we can make up for the lack [of construction] during the eight years of the Obama administration,” he said.
The Jerusalem municipality considers the election of Donald Trump an opportunity to increase construction in the capital. According to one Israeli leftwing NGO, the amount of housing units approved in Jerusalem since Trump won the election is more than double the number approved last year.
The president-elect has made it clear that he recognizes Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel. To that end, Trump has pledged that he will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is an outspoken advocate for the settlements.
According to political analysts, over the years the U.S. State Department was concerned that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would arouse the anger of the Arab world. Despite a 1995 bill called the Jerusalem Embassy Act that gained overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, successive presidents failed to act on it, fearing the political fallout.