In a move sure to ratchet up Israeli-Palestinian tension even further, Israel gave the OK today to construct 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem. Israel’s Interior Ministry says construction can begin after 60 days, a period that is mandatory for comments from the public but largely a formality, the AP reports. While the Palestinians say east Jerusalem is their future capital, and have called for a halt to all settlement construction there, Israel says the area is a part of its own capital, an undivided Jerusalem.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine were already high after last week’s move by Palestine to seek statehood and full UN membership. The chief Palestinian negotiator called the 1,100 new homes “1,100 no’s to the resumption of peace talks.” Palestine has refused to resume peace talks, stalled for three years, until settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank ends.