Jerusalem: Israel will pay ‘high price’ for embassy move

Illustrative. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the Golan Heights near the Syrian border

Illustrative. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the Golan Heights near the Syrian border

The Israeli government on Wednesday announced that it was advancing plans to build over 1,000 new homes in West Bank settlements, pressing ahead with construction as the Trump administration prepares to unveil a long-awaited peace plan.

The embassy opened in May, sparking mass demonstrations in which around 60 Palestinian protesters were killed and more than 2,000 were injured by Israeli forces.

The settlements are considered illegal under worldwide law, although Israel disputes this.

On January 3 this year, President Trump tweeted: "It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others".

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night told a crowd in Charleston, West Virginia that Israel would "pay a higher price" in the peace talks with the PA, because it had already received recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.

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The President did not put forward any concrete suggestions as to what this "something very good" might entail for the Palestinians.President Trump also remarked that the USA had "taken Jerusalem off the table".

In response to Trump's comments, US National Security Adviser John Bolton stressed that there had been no change in US policy vis-a-vis Israel.

Israeli settlements are considered a violation of global law and major stumbling blocks to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians want for their future state. There have been warnings that the continuing expansion of settlements is diminishing any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem - territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Speaking with The Times of Israel, Majdi al-Khaldi, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that "the American administration made a major mistake when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved its embassy there".

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