A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (24 November) on a decision by the municipal authorities of Jerusalem to relaunch the planning process for the expansion of Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem:
The municipal authorities of Jerusalem have announced a continuation of the planning process for 500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. The construction of these units would also extend on to privately owned Palestinian land.
The Federal Government has repeatedly made its standpoint clear: settlement activities in the occupied territories, and thus also in East Jerusalem, violate international law. Settlements pose a further obstacle to the possibility of a peace process.
We are following these developments, which play a role in increasing tension between the two population groups and undermine peace on the basis of a two-state solution in the long term, with great concern.
The plan includes the expansion of Ramat Shlomo settlement by 500 housing units on privately owned Israeli land, as well as the construction of access roads and public parks that would require the expropriation of Palestinian landowners.
During the original planning process in 2014, alternative suggestions that would have upheld Palestinian ownership rights were rejected. However, the plans were suspended in the wake of international pressure.
On 20 November 2016, a spokesperson of the municipal authorities announced that the plans to build the 500 housing units at Ramat Shlomo settlement were being relaunched. On 22 November 2016, the local Planning and Construction Committee decided to forward the building project plan to the municipal Planning Committee so that the latter can publish it for comments.