Palestinians slam Israeli move to build 2,500 more settler homes
May 24 2018 10:04 PM
Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement

QNA/ Jerusalem

Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh has slammed Israel's announcement on Thursday that it will give final approval to the construction of 2,500 new homes in the occupied West Bank, the first tranche of settlements since the controversial US embassy move to Jerusalem.

Reacting to Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman's announcement, Abu Rudeineh said

that all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal and a violation of all international resolutions and therefore will be removed sooner or later, according to Palestinian WAFA news agency.

Abu Rudeina said Washington was complicit in the latest move.

"The continuation of the settlement policy, statements by American officials supporting settlements and incitement by Israeli ministers have ended the two-state solution and ended the American role in the region," he said.

"These Israeli measures and US bias created the circumstance and conditions that increased instability and contributed to turning the region into tracks that would destroy everything," he added.

Abu Rudeineh said that "decisions on settlements are a clear Israeli message to the world, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and human rights organisations that Israel will foil all international efforts to save the political process, which requires from the international community to immediately act to provide international protection to our Palestinian people and to recognise the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his intention to request final approval from a planning committee for the building of 2,500 new homes in 30 West Bank settlements.

"The 2,500 new units we'll approve in the planning committee next week are for immediate construction in 2018," Lieberman said in a statement, adding he would also seek the committee's approval for a further 1,400 settlement units for later construction.

The 2,500 units include 400 homes in Ariel, 460 in Maale Adumim, 330 in the Etzion bloc, and a retirement home in Elkana, according to Lieberman.

Israel's West Bank planning committee was set to convene on Wednesday next week to discuss the request, though this was not officially confirmed.

Israel's West Bank settlements are considered illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.

In a recent appeal to the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian foreign ministry called Israeli settlements "the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives and livelihoods". Yesterday was the first major settlement announcement since the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, a move that infuriated Palestinians and intensified protests on the Gaza border, with 60 killed in clashes with Israeli forces that day.

The Palestinians have said that in light of US President Donald Trump's decision to move the embassy, they could no longer trust Washington in its traditional role of brokering a peace deal with Israel.

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