Israeli committee OKs 3,500 settlement homes in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) — A local Israeli committee on Wednesday approved plans for the construction of more than 3,500 settler housing units in east Jerusalem, nearly half in a particularly controversial area, according to Peace Now, an anti-settlement monitoring group.

Peace Now said the construction of the homes would largely cut off the city from the southern part of the occupied West Bank, further complicating any efforts to create a functioning Palestinian state. The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to refrain from settlement construction.

The projects were approved by a municipal committee and will be considered by a district committee on Jan. 17. It would likely be years before any construction takes place, but Peace Now says once the approval process is underway, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop.