Israel moves to further seal off Jerusalem from West Bank
Israeli officials have approved plans to build 2,612 new homes on Givat HaMatos, or Airplane Hill, which is set to become the first new Jerusalem neighborhood to be built outside Israel's internationally recognized borders since 1996.
The settlement profoundly concerns Palestinians and advocates of a two-state solution.
They said that it and other building projects underway would make drawing the borders of a future Palestinian state unworkable by fragmenting Palestinian areas, and thus could deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
"I believe that Givat HaMatos is a deal-breaker," Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli attorney and founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem, which tracks developments that could jeopardize a two-state solution, said.
"How many times can you cut a worm in half and the worm starts wiggling?" he said.
According to the report, some 549 new homes in Givat HaMatos for Arab residents have also approved, but went largely unnoticed amid a series of Israeli moves to expand building in East Jerusalem and the highly controversial area of E1, which would create an Israeli bubble deep into the West Bank.
The US State Department has used unusually strong language to criticize what it characterized as a "continuing pattern of provocative action" that jeopardizes a two-state solution, the report added.