JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Palestinians appealed to the United Nations Security Council to stop Israel from making plans to build 3,000 apartments in a controversial area outside of Jerusalem.
In a letter to the Security Council, the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. secretary-general, the Palestinian representative to the United Nations said the announced plans represent “Israel’s contemptuous response” to the international body’s vote to approve enhanced observer statehood status for the Palestinians. Authorization for the construction planning was made by the nine-member security Cabinet on the evening of Nov. 29 in the hours after the General Assembly vote.
The housing would be built in the E1 corridor connecting Jerusalem to the large Maale Adumim settlement, an area that the Palestinians say is necessary to keep the borders of a Palestinian state contiguous.
The housing is still in the planning stages and construction is a long way off, according to reports
“Israel is methodically and aggressively pushing ahead with this unlawful land grab and colonization of Palestine with the intent to alter the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian territory, especially in and around East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, in its favor in order to entrench its illegitimate control of the land and prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations,” the letter said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would block the settlement building using all legal and diplomatic means, The Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said earlier in the week that the Palestinians would take Israel to the International Criminal Court over the settlement planning and the announcement that Israel would withhold $100 million in taxes collected for the Palestinians, which it will apply to the PA’s outstanding electric bill
‘‘By continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC,’’ Shaath said.