GAZA, -- Dr. Taleb Abu Sha’ar, the minister of religious affairs, on Monday warned of Israeli intentions to annex the settlement outposts in occupied Jerusalem to its territory in the context of its schemes to seize the entire holy city.
In a press release, Dr. Abu Sha’ar said this Zionist scheme was voted on in the Knesset by the Likud right-wingers and welcomed by heads of the settlements who demanded to turn words into action.
He affirmed that the settlements which the Israeli government wants to annex, according to the bill, include Maale Adumim, Efrat and Givat Ze’ev, adding that the decision will be implemented by the Israeli municipal council in Jerusalem.
The minister, in another context, strongly denounced Israel for allowing its settlers to seize a Palestinian home under police protection belonging to the family of Salah in the neighborhood of Beit Safafa, south of Jerusalem.
The minister asserted that the settlers raised Israeli flags on the house, assaulted and forced the family out and performed provocative dances in its courtyard while the police escorts prevented the family members from defending themselves and threatened to arrest and deport them if they did not leave the entire area.
The minister noted that this Israeli crime led to the displacement of 40 Palestinians living in this house.
In another development, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Ramahi, the secretary-general of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), said that the Israeli government’s declaration to build 187,000 new housing units in east Jerusalem dealt another blow to the Arab decision to resume peace talks with Israel, especially the Palestinian negotiator who, despite all concessions he made, could not get even a nominal decision to halt settlement activities.
Dr. Ramahi called on the Arab states and their follow-up committee to necessarily reconsider its position towards the negotiations with Israel, whether direct or indirect, and warned them of relying on the US promises.
For its part, the Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper revealed that Arieh King, the head of Israel’s land fund, proposed a plan to build about 187,000 settlement units in east Jerusalem.
King called in a news conference held by Menachem Begin heritage center on Sunday for discussing initiatives for the future development in east Jerusalem represented in using lands owned by individuals and the Jewish national fund to build these new units in east Jerusalem, E1 area between the holy city and Ma’ale Adumim and on lands stretching from Ramallah to Bethlehem.
The newspaper quoted King as saying that if Jerusalem did not expand eastwards if would turn into another Gaza Strip.