Israel OKs 2,610 new E. Jerusalem homes for settlers

Updated 19 December 2012
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Israel OKs 2,610 new E. Jerusalem homes for settlers

JERUSALEM: An Israeli committee gave final approval yesterday to plans to build 2,610 new homes in Givat HaMatos, a settlement suburb of annexed east Jerusalem, an Israeli NGO told AFP.
“I just spoke with the deputy mayor and they told me the 2,610 units have been approved,” said Danny Seidemann, head of Terrestrial Jerusalem.
The plans, which got the go-ahead from the Jerusalem municipal planning committee, will see more than 2,000 new homes being built in what rights groups say will be the city’s first new settlement neighborhood in 12 years.
Until now, there has been no construction at the site, which is located on the southern flank of east Jerusalem close to Bethlehem.
Terrestrial Jerusalem had on Tuesday flagged up the meeting and said if the committee okayed the plans it would be the final stage of a long approval process with construction likely to start “within a matter of weeks or a few months.”
Lior Amihai, of the Settlement Watch project at the Peace Now group, also said the approval was final. “Officially this is the final decision. There are no more committees for it to go to... It will be published in the coming days and then there’s a 15-day period until it becomes valid and they can start issuing tenders,” he told AFP.
Building in Givat HaMatos would mark the start of the first new settlement neighborhood in east Jerusalem since the establishment of Har Homa in 1997.
That settlement, near the site of Givat HaMatos, was set up during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term of office.
The move has infuriated the Palestinians who said its construction would complete a ring of Jewish settlements around east Jerusalem, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank.
The Peace Now settlement watchdog has described Givat HaMatos as “a game changer” which would significantly change the possible border between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Plans to build Givat HaMatos were first made public in January 2008 under the government of Ehud Olmert but they could not be implemented without passing through a lengthy approvals process.


Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

Updated 26 April 2018
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Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.

The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”

The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”

In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.

The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.

The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.

They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”

They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.

Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.