Israel never promised to stop building within Jerusalem according to Rafi Eitan, minister for Jerusalem affairs. He said that they have a duty to house its citizens. Currently, there is budgeting going on to build 500 new homes in Har Homa and 240 in Maeleh Adumin.
The plans were condemned by a Palestinian spokesman and accused the Israeli government of looking to destroy the peace talks between both Israel and Palestine. Earlier, both sides agreed at a peace conference in Annapolis to restart the 2003 peace plan.
As a stipulation to the peace plan, Israel must stop all settlement activity. At the same time, the Palestinians must rein in the militants.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Middle East War. However, this move is not recognized internationally. There are many that still do not recognize the state of Israel.
In their defense, Israel argues that the settlement is part of plans drawn up seven years ago. It adds that it was not covered in the roadmap to peace at Annapolis.
Critics of the settlement plan argue that the network will disrupt any future attempts to make East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state.
“Har Homa is an integral part of Jerusalem and Israel will not stop building there,” said Mr. Eitan.
He adds: “It is Israel’s duty to provide its citizens with a place to live.”
However, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator said that Israel is undermining the peace process.
Erekat says: “Every day we hear a new settlement expansion plan – this cannot be tolerated.”