The General Assembly decision late Thursday to accept “Palestine” as a non-member observer state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza did not grant actual independence to the 4.3 million Palestinians living in those areas.
Israel remains an occupying force in the first two territories, and continues to severely restrict access to Gaza. The coastal strip, located on the opposite side of Israel from the West Bank, is controlled by the militant group Hamas. Israel withdrew in 2005.
Mr. Netanyahu sounded defiant Sunday.
“Today, we are building and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that appear on Israel’s map of strategic interests,” he told his Cabinet.
Half a million settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the result of a decades-long strategy aimed at blurring the borders between Israel and the occupied territories.
Israel announced Friday that it would press ahead plans to build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the core of the Palestinians’ hoped-for state.
More worrisome for the Palestinians, it vowed to dust off a master plan to build 3,600 apartments and 10 hotels on the section of territory east of Jerusalem known as E1. The Palestinians have warned that such construction would kill any hope for the creation of a viable state of Palestine.
Building there would sever the link between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the sector of the holy city the Palestinians claim for a future capital, and cut off the northern part of the West Bank form its southern flank.
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