Jerusalem’s city officials have decided to cancel a vote that would have looked into approving some 618 illegal settlements in the Israeli-occupied side of East Jerusalem.
The vote would have been the first act of open defiance from Israel after the United Nations Security Council recently passed resolution 2334 condemning the settlements as illegal.
The abrupt decision to cancel the round of voting comes only days after Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, Meir Turjeman, expressed his intent to approve 5,600 building permits despite the U.N. resolution. The mostly-symbolic resolution prohibits Israel from building settlements in Palestinian land occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967.
That region, where about 300,000 Palestinians live, was officially annexed by the Israeli Parliament in 1980, after declaring it the “eternal and indivisible” capital of Israel.
According to Jerusalem Planning and Housing Committee member Hanan Rubin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested that the decision be postponed until after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech on the matter Wednesday morning, Reuters reported.
“The prime minister said that while he supports construction in Jerusalem, we don’t have to inflame the situation any further,” Rubin told Reuters.
The United States was the only member of the 15-member body to abstain from the Dec. 23 U.N. vote on the resolution, to Netanyahu’s dismay.
Member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement have declared their support for the U.N. resolution, which was passed 14-0. On Tuesday, the organization released a statement through Venezuela’s Foreign Relations Minister Delcy Rodriguez’s Twitter account.
In it, the group recognized the “importance of the recent resolution in support of the viability of a two-state solution, based on pre-1967 borders, as well as the prospects of a just peace, lasting and integral,” AVN News reported.
Despite the recent reason to cancel the vote, reports state that the Israeli Occupation Forces demolished various Palestinian-owned facilities in Jerusalem, according to the Jerusalem Information Center, as reported by the Palestinian News Network, on Tuesday night.
The IOF demolished three containers and a warehouse in Silwan town, south of Al-Aqsa mosque under the pretext of having no building permit, the agency reported.
Some 430,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem, among more than 2.6 million Palestinians in the area who view it as the capital of their own future state.
The committee could resume their vote at a later date.
This post originally ran on teleSUR.