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"End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil # 837, February 24, 2017: Why are East Jerusalem settlements controversial?

Publication date : 2017-02-24

The Palestinians want to establish their future capital in East Jerusalem, while Israel sees the whole city as its own capital. While the western part of the city is almost entirely populated by Jews, the eastern part, historically, has been home to Arabs. Since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Jews began moving into that territory, though under international law, settlements in the region (as well as the West Bank and the Golan Heights) are considered illegal. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in December denouncing Israel’s construction of settlements in Palestinian-occupied territory and would view this move as a flagrant violation of it. The United States, still under the leadership of Barack Obama at the time, abstained from the vote, a move seen globally as approval of the resolution.

Why are East Jerusalem settlements controversial?

The Palestinians want to establish their future capital in East Jerusalem, while Israel sees the whole city as its own capital. While the western part of the city is almost entirely populated by Jews, the eastern part, historically, has been home to Arabs. Since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Jews began moving into that territory, though under international law, settlements in the region (as well as the West Bank and the Golan Heights) are considered illegal.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in December denouncing Israel’s construction of settlements in Palestinian-occupied territory and would view this move as a flagrant violation of it. The United States, still under the leadership of Barack Obama at the time, abstained from the vote, a move seen globally as approval of the resolution. Why were some projects given the go-ahead now? The timing of the announcement of these settlement housing units, just days after Mr. Trump was inaugurated as President, is key. Officials in Israel have explicitly stated that they feel they can now build since Mr. Obama, with whom they had strained relations, is out of office.“The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as President,” Jerusalem deputy mayor Meir Turgeman told Agence France-Presse.In a statement Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu said, “We can build where we want and as much as we want.”

Last year, Mr. Trump spoke on the campaign trail about how he was Israel’s “best friend,” and promised to chart a new path in U.S.-Israeli relations. After the UN vote, Mr. Trump said in a tweet, « Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching! »Mr. Trump’s controversial choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has publicly stated many times he is in favour of Israeli settlement in occupied territory.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-politics/understanding-the-key-questions-about-trumps-israel-agenda/article33699811/

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