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Israel 'triples size' of illegal East Jerusalem Nof Zion settlement Open in fullscreen

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Israel 'triples size' of illegal East Jerusalem Nof Zion settlement

Nof Zion is located in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2017

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Israeli authorities on Wednesday approved a major expansion of Nof Zion, an Israeli settlement located in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber.
Israeli authorities on Wednesday approved a major expansion of the Nof Zion settlement located in the heart of East Jerusalem.

The Nof Zion settlement was established in 2004 in the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood and currently contains 91 housing units.

The latest announcement, approved by a Jerusalem planning committee, will add an additional 176 settler homes, making it the largest Jewish settlement enclave built within an East Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood.

The land on which Nof Zion is built was bought from Palestinians in Jabel Mukaber by Jewish Israelis in the 1990s, although construction did not begin until over a decade later.

Settlers had requested building permits for the additional housing units earlier this year.

"It appears that the government has opened all the floodgates when it comes to settlement developments within Palestinian neighbourhoods", settlement watchdog Peace Now said at the time.

"This is not a matter of real estate but a matter of politics and sovereignty, as the Israelis moving to homes inside Palestinian neighbourhoods are motivated solely by ideology, and are trying to prevent a future compromise in Jerusalem."

Most settlements, particularly in the occupied West Bank, are located outside of Palestinian residential areas and are typically far larger than Nof Zion.

Earlier in October, Israel advanced plans for nearly 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank as part of a push to boost settlement growth.

The plans also included homes in the flashpoint city of Hebron, where 800 hard-line nationalist settlers live under army protection in heavily fortified compounds among 200,000 Palestinians.

Over 600,000 Israeli Jews now live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible.

Settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.

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