UN Security Council to Meet Over Israeli Plans for New Construction in E. Jerusalem

Emergency meeting requested by Jordan, after Netanyahu reveals plans for 1,060 new housing units beyond Green Line.

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The UN Security Council, May 22, 2014. Credit: AP

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday over Israel's plans for new construction in the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, diplomats told AFP on Tuesday.

The meeting was requested by Jordan on Monday, following a letter to the council's president by the Palestinians, who warned about the "dangerously escalating tensions" in East Jerusalem.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that he was pushing forward plans for 1,060 new housing units beyond the Green Line, including in East Jerusalem, despite stiff international criticism and recent rising violence between Jews and Arabs in the capital.

The U.S. and the European Union condemned the decision, with State Department Spokesman Jen Psaki saying Washington was "deeply concerned" by reports of Netanyahu's plans.

Responding to Netanyahu's announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority is appealing to the United Nations Security Council to call on Israel to halt its disruptions in Jerusalem, as well as the ongoing actions by settlers against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

A letter from Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour to the council president on Monday called on the international community to demand that Israel "cease forthwith all of its illegal settlement activities" in East Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah told Haaretz they expect to have the support of the majority of the UN Security Council's members in Wednesday's meeting.

"We estimate the world will not remain silent in the face of the policy of occupation, settlement, and escalation pursued by the Netanyahu government," said a Palestinian official.

The Palestinians are in discussions over a draft for a resolution proposal to be presented to the Security Council, though at this stage it is still unclear whether it will be anything more than a condemnation, which may be faced with an American veto.

It should be noted that the Palestinians are still preparing for filing the council with a resolution proposal calling for an end-date for the occupation and establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

However, the proposal will most likely not be filed before the end of November, possibly early December, due to a quiet agreement between Abbas and the American administration to that effect, as the American midterm election is set for early November. 

Meanwhile, riots in East Jerusalem, which have been going on for several days, continued Monday as Palestinians clashed with police and attacked property.

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