08/05/2011, 00.00
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900 more homes for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem

by Joshua Lapide
Already 9 000 settlers in Har Homa. With its development, the area of Bethlehem will be cut off from East Jerusalem, making the creation of a Palestinian state even more difficult. There is also environmental damage: Har Homa (Abu Ghnaim) was a wooded area, now destroyed by building development.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Israeli government has given final approval to build over 900 new homes for settlers in Har Homa, an area of occupied East Jerusalem.

Har Homa is one of the largest and most opposed Jewish settlements, whose growth threatens to permanently cut off the territory of Palestinian Bethlehem from East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want for their future capital.

Har Homa is already home to a Jewish colony of 9 thousand people and with the new houses - 930 for precision - the Israeli population could reach 15 thousand units.

The Home Office defended the choice because the project includes small houses at affordable rates, which could be a response to the high cost of housing in Israel.

For Hagit Ofran of "Peace Now", this approval makes the solution of the two peoples-two states, so dear to the international community, “more difficult”.

Before being colonized by the Israelis, Har Homa, was called Abu Ghnaim, and it was a wooded area around Bethlehem, now destroyed by building development.

Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the end of the Six-Day War in 1967. Going against international law, Israel continues to colonize parts of these territories, sometimes using military force to formally expropriate the Palestinians present there.

To date there are at least 500 thousand Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Israeli population in the settlements is growing annually by 5-6%.

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