Israeli authorities yesterday approved a major expansion of an east Jerusalem settlement, signing off on plans to add 176 homes, the city's deputy mayor said.
The latest approvals come after Israel last week advanced plans for more than 2,600 settlement homes in various areas of the occupied West Bank.
The expansion approved yesterday would create the largest Israeli settlement inside a Palestinian neighbourhood of the city, NGOs say.
It will allow the Nof Zion settlement to add 176 housing units to the 91 existing homes.
The settlement is located in the annexed east Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber. The plans were approved by a Jerusalem planning committee, Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman told AFP.
However, the property remains the subject of an ongoing ownership dispute between two different firms and the court case must be resolved before construction can move ahead, a spokeswoman for the Peace Now settlement watchdog told AFP.
The approvals were granted but made conditional upon the case being resolved.
Peace Now and other NGOs say the approvals would make Nof Zion the largest Israeli settlement inside any Palestinian neighbourhood of east Jerusalem and possibly also of the West Bank.
Most settlements, particularly in the West Bank, are located outside of Palestinian residential areas. They are typically far larger than Nof Zion.
Jerusalem's status is ultrasensitive and central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.