SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Israeli settlers have seized 10 new homes in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), activists say, as Tel Aviv expands its land grab in the holy city.
Jawad Siyyam, the Palestinian activist who runs the Silwan Community Center, said on Monday that a group of illegal settlers took over two buildings in the neighborhood, located in the eastern side of the city, annexed during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The Israeli regime has stepped up its expansionist policies by a recent approval of plans to construct more than 2,600 settler units in the eastern side, mostly populated by Palestinians.
Israeli groups have confirmed to AFP that they “facilitated and directed two new (building) acquisitions” in Silwan.
There are currently around 500 illegal settlers residing in 90 buildings in the neighborhood, Siyyam said.
According to the city’s Israeli municipality, 306,000 Palestinians live in East al-Quds, who are not considered citizens by Tel Aviv. Some 200,000 illegal settlers also live there, according to the municipality’s figure.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in the 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.