Israel will reportedly build more than 1,000 new homes in East Jerusalem as part of its ongoing ethnic cleansing program in the occupied territories. It comes amid the latest complaints by Palestinians that their homes have been illegally bulldozed.
Construction contracts for 300 homes in the northeastern settlement of Ramot were signed, and another 797 land plots in the much larger settlement of Gilo in Jerusalem were listed for sale. Danny Seidemann, a director of the Jerusalem settlement watchdog group Terrestrial Jerusalem, told AFP that the building was quietly ordered last year by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The housing project is certain to draw the ire of the international community, which cites international law nullifying Israel’s domain over the region, which the country annexed after the 1967 Six-Day war. Netanyahu has reportedly pushed the project under the carpet temporarily so as not to impact US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to bridge peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The news of the land purchases is said to have been leaked by Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel in an effort to pressure the prime minister.
“This does not mean that the show is over, it does mean that Netanyahu’s minister of construction is trying to achieve that,” Seidermann told the AFP. “There is a de facto freeze at the moment, there have been no new units since the elections. This is an attempt to force Netanyahu’s hand.”
Police and protesters were injured as Palestinians clashed with the IDF in Jerusalem and across the West Bank during rallies to commemorate the Nakba, or the ‘catastrophe’ of the displacement of Palestinians after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reportedly had to use teargas and rubber bullets in response to Palestinian protesters throwing rocks at soldiers.
In Jerusalem, two policemen were wounded as a result of clashes, reports Haaretz. A fire bomb was thrown at an IDF vehicle injuring four soldiers near the city of Hebron in southern West Bank.
According to Palestinian WAFA news agency, several “peacefully demonstrating” Palestinians were injured during confrontations with IDF at Kalandia checkpoint, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Violence broke out after Israeli soldiers fired teargas and acoustic bombs at protesters, the agency states.
The IDF spokeswoman, however, said it was Palestinians who sparked the clashes, throwing stones at soldiers, while Israeli forces had to respond with crowd dispersal techniques, reports the Jerusalem Post.
Some 16 Palestinian protesters were arrested at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem after hurling stones and bottles at police officers. One of the officers was taken to hospital after his head was injured, in a separate incident an Israeli Jew recieved minor injuries after being beaten by a Palestinian, according to JPost.
In the afternoon Palestinian militants fired rockets at Eshkol Regional Council in Southern Jerusalem, causing no injuries or damages, according to Israeli media.
Clashes were also reported in other locations in the region, including Kadum and at Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem.