Palestine hails world's opposition to Israel's settlement project in E. Jerusalem

Israeli settlers gather in the newly-established outpost of Eviatar near the northern Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, June 28, 2021. (Photo: CFP)

Palestine on Tuesday hailed international community's opposition to the reconstruction of 9,000 units in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

The position of the international community "is a practical step in the right direction," the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement, adding that "more steps are needed to achieve the goal of stopping the Israeli settlements."

The statement called on the international community "to exert more efforts to prepare the atmosphere for launching a real peace process in the Middle East based on international peace references and UN resolutions."

It also urged the U.S. to take "practical steps," mainly reopening the American consulate to run Palestinians' affairs in East Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, Israeli media reported that the planning and construction committee in Jerusalem postponed a project to build more than 9,000 new housing units on the lands of the Atarot/Qalandia Airport.

The reports said that the plan presented last month outraged the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, and was opposed by other countries that support the United Nations' two-state solution over Palestine and Israel.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry warned against "Israel's misleading campaigns regarding its settlement projects in general, especially since the committee postponed the approval of the settlement project and did not cancel it."

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by the Palestinians, in the 1967 Middle East war and has controlled them ever since.

According to Israeli and Palestinian estimates, about 650,000 Israeli settlers live in 164 settlements and 124 outposts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel's settlement expansion has been the thorniest issue in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and one of the major reasons behind the stalemate in the peace negotiations between the two sides since 2014.