The settlement of Gilo has been built on land captured by Israel in 1967
Israel's approval of 900 extra housing units at a settlement in East Jerusalem comes in for harsh criticism in the Palestinian, Middle Eastern and Pan-Arab press.
One Israeli paper sees it as an "embarrassment" to President Barack Obama, while another feels his objection to the settlement risks alienating the Israeli public.
Arab papers also consider the project a humiliation for the US administration and feel international objections to the building work have little substance, with one commentator saying Israel's ultimate aim is to ensure that there is insufficient land for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
AKIVA ELDAR IN HA'ARETZ
The decision to approve the Gilo expansion is one more nail in [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud] Abbas' political coffin and one more blow to Obama's prestige... the Americans, as Netanyahu likes to say about Israelis, are not suckers... They have no doubt that he knew that the council's decision to approve the plan would cause uproar in Ramallah and embarrassment in Washington.
HERB KEINON IN THE JERUSALEM POST
US President Barack Obama's continued misreading and misunderstanding of the Israeli public is somewhat baffling... This misreading was evident again in the past few days by the US objection to the Jerusalem Municipal Planning Committee's approval of a plan to build some 900 new units in Gilo... By continuing to press the [settlement freeze] issue, Obama risks further alienating the Israeli public. According to a Jerusalem Post poll conducted in August, only four per cent of Israelis consider him to be pro-Israel.
The world powers that talk about the two-state solution and denounce or oppose the settlement activity also oppose the diplomatic effort to declare a [Palestinian] state... It would not be an exaggeration to describe this position as international hypocrisy and lip service.
AZMI AL-KHAWAJAH IN AL-AYYAM
In light of the US inability to force Israel to stop the settlement activity and enter negotiations to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the Arabs should exert pressure on Obama so that he will in turn bring pressure to bear on Netanyahu.
MIDDLE EAST PRESS:
RASHA ISA IN SYRIA'S TISHRIN
It is true that the statements issued by Washington and some other Europeans, which express their concern over the continuation of settlement building are important, but they are almost devoid of substance... Today Israel is intensifying its settlement-building scheme... to be able to complete its project in Jerusalem first and then in the rest of Palestine in order to destroy the land required to establish a viable Palestinian state.
Perhaps it is time for the USA and the international community to demonstrate a more serious stance with regard to committing Israel to yield to international resolutions and international law and refrain from mere condemnations, which are worthless.
MAZIN HAMMAD IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN
This new Israeli step will further hinder US efforts aimed at resuming the peace negotiations and will cause further embarrassment to Obama's administration - an administration which Israel does not care about the standing, reputation or credibility of... Obama's administration is no longer qualified to be given another chance to stop Israel.
The racist, extremist government of Israel has once again challenged the whole international community which rejects the settlement-building activities in the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem... The Israeli decision also represents a new challenge to the Arab and Islamic worlds.
ILYAS HARFUSH IN AL-HAYAT
The latest announcement by Israel... shows that the main point of conflict between Obama and Netanyahu has not been solved... It also shows that Obama's plan for the Israeli right-wing government has weakened. At the same time, the degree of trust that Obama won from Muslims and Arabs after his election has started to wane, if not to die completely.
Israel's announcement ... is an insult and a humiliation for the [US] administration and its leader. It also destroys US credibility and efforts to revive the peace process and bring the Palestinian and Israeli sides back to the negotiating table.
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