Israeli plan for 15,000 more settlement homes in Jerusalem condemned

A general view shows the Israeli settlement of Ramot in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem, in this photo taken on January 22, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 April 2017
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Israeli plan for 15,000 more settlement homes in Jerusalem condemned

JERUSALEM: Israel intends to build 15,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem, the Housing Ministry said on Friday despite US President Donald Trump’s request to “hold back” on settlements as part of a possible new push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
A formal announcement of the settlement plan, quickly condemned by the chief Palestinian negotiator, could come around the time Trump is scheduled to visit Israel next month.
Israel views all of Jerusalem as its “eternal and indivisible capital,” but the Palestinians also want a capital there. Most of the world considers Jerusalem’s status an issue that must be decided through negotiations. The last peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.
Housing Minister Yoav Galant told Israel Radio that his ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality had been working on the plan for two years, with proposals for 25,000 units, 15,000 of which would be in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed.
“We will build 10,000 units in Jerusalem and some 15,000 within the (extended) municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. It will happen,” he said.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel’s move was a systematic violation of international law and a “deliberate sabotage” of efforts to resume talks.
“All settlements in occupied Palestine are illegal under international law,” he said in a statement. “Palestine will continue to resort to international bodies to hold Israel, the occupation power, accountable for its grave violations of international law throughout occupied Palestine.”
Channel 2 news said an announcement on building could be made on Jerusalem Day which this year, according to the Hebrew calendar, falls on May 24, when Israel celebrates its capture of the eastern part of the city.
This year marks the 50th anniversary, with a large number of celebrations planned. Trump’s visit is expected to take place on or shortly after May 22.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Trump told Reuters in an interview at the White House on Thursday that he wanted to see a peace deal.
“I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” he said. “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever.”
The US leader met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington in February and is to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on May 3.


Iran executes nurse convicted of murdering boy

Updated 44 min 8 sec ago
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Iran executes nurse convicted of murdering boy

TEHRAN: Iran has executed a nurse convicted of murdering a six-year-old boy, the judiciary’s official news agency reported on Sunday.
The woman was found guilty of carrying out the murder in June 2016 while working for the boy’s grandmother at her home in Kelardasht city, in the northern province of Mazandaran.
The nurse was sentenced to death a year later.
She confessed to the premeditated murder and said she did it out of “anger,” the prosecutor said, quoted on Sunday by the Mizan Online news agency.
“The verdict was finalized as it was not appealed,” the prosecutor added.
The executed woman was not identified in the report. She was in her early 40s.
Iran does not publish official statistics on the number of people it executes.
But according to Amnesty International, while secretive China is the world’s “leading executioner,” Iran had the highest known figure in 2018 with at least 253 people put to death, down from 507 in 2017.