qudsJerusalem – PNN - The Jerusalem Municipality announced on Monday its plan to construct 13 new Jewish settlement units in the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which will result in the eviction of several Palestinian families.

According to Israeli online news source Ha’aretz, settler organizations that support at least three homes in the neighborhood backed the plan, which includes the razing of two buildings in western Sheikh Jarrah. Two new buildings will be built in their place, to include 13 settlement units in all.

Right-wing activist Chaim Silverstein represents the settlers in court, while the companies to be involved in the demolition and construction are American.

Sheikh Jarrah has been the site of illegal Jewish settlement efforts for the past two years, with controversial evictions occurring in November 2008 and August 2009. In both cases, the evictions were met with strong protest from the United States and the UN, but went ahead. Weekly demonstrations by Jewish solidarity activists have had seemingly little effect on the evictions.

Yosef Alalu, a Jerusalem city councillor from the left-leaning Meretz party, told Ha’aretz that the new settlements would “seriously harm relations with the Palestinians and will break all agreements that Jewish neighborhoods will remain under Israeli sovereignty and Arab neighborhoods will be under Palestinian sovereignty.”

That standard, known as the Clinton parameter, has been maintained in most peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The current negotiations are stalled on the issue of settlements, with Palestinians refusing to return to the table unless illegal settlement operations are halted completely. Israeli authorities have refused to comply, calling the demand a “precondition” to negotiations.

PNN