The government of Israel is advancing its construction plans of about 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem where Palestinians demand to have their own state, an official in the government said on Monday, amidst newly heightened tensions.
An official in the government said plans are to include building in the West Bank that will be used by both Palestinians and Israelis as well. The official requested anonymity because he did not have the authority to talk with the media.
Palestinians want east Jerusalem, home to the most sensitive holy sites in the city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as the capital to their future state and oppose any construction there by Israelis.
Israel said all of the city of Jerusalem would forever be its capital, due to religious, historical and security reasons.
However, the international community, which included the U.S., does not recognize the annexation by Israel of Jerusalem’s eastern sector.
The announcement of housing could flare up already heightened tension across east Jerusalem, which for months has seen violent unrest, including clashes nearly each night between Palestinian youths and police.
The youths throw firecrackers, firebombs and rocks at passing vehicles and at the Israeli’s that live close by.
Since June, tensions have remained high. At that time, three teenagers from Israel were abducted and shortly thereafter killed by Palestinians in the West Bank.
Extremists in Israel retaliated by abducting and later killing a Palestinian teen that sparked riots.
The abductions led to a series of events that eventually was followed by this past summer’s 50-day Gaza war.
A Palestinian last week drove his vehicle into a train station in Jerusalem killing an Israel American girl who was just three months old. Another woman, who was from Ecuador died while several other people had to be treated.
The driver of the car attempted to flee and was shot by police as he attempted to leave the scene. The man Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi later died due to his wounds.
Officials in the U.S. last week said that the Obama administration had refused Moshe Yaalon, the Defense Minister of Israel request to meet several top security aides.