Israel Approves Settlements For First Time In 25 Years

Nick Mcbride
April 15, 2017

Israel's decision to build the first new government-sanctioned settlement in a quarter century drew a condemnation from UN Secretary General António Guterres on Friday.

A spokesman for United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said that the secretary-general expressed "disappointment and alarm" at the Israeli security cabinet's decision on Thursday to build a new settlement - considered illegal under global law - on land stolen from the Palestinians.

The White House has confirmed U.S. President Donald Trump has accepted the Israeli government rationale expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for construction of a new town for the homeless residents of the former Binyamin community of Amona.

"The secretary-general has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security", United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

The Israeli move, he further said, is in contrast with the fundamentals of the peace process and the responsibilities of the power of occupation, and undermines the two-state solution and efforts to bring about regional peace.

The White House has officially approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's exception for one new settlement for the Jews made homeless by the destruction of Amona.

Figures released by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics showed last week that 2,630 settlement units were constructed in the West Bank a year ago, marking a rise of 40 percent from 2015.

Trump, who is seen as sympathetic to Israel, has publicly voiced his concerns about settlements but has done little to condemn new outposts.

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Israel has not established a completely new settlement since the early 1990s, though existing settlements have expanded since then and once illegal outposts have been retroactively recognized.

Netanyahu was pressed keep his promise to build a new settlement to replace Amona - a settlement outpost built on private Palestinian land that was dismantled following an Israeli Supreme Court ruling - especially by pro-settler hard-liners who dominate his coalition and oppose Palestinian statehood on security or religious grounds.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters during the summit that he is waiting on the us administration to reveal to which extent Israel is willing to curb settlement construction. Another 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem. The official continued to say that the "will continue to work with Israelis and Palestinians, and other players in the region, to create a climate that is conducive to peace".

The construction of the settlements in the region is considered illegal under worldwide law.

Ashrawi called on the worldwide community to hold Israel responsible for the expansion of West Bank settlements.

A picture taken from Jewish settlement of Shilo shows a general view of the Jewish settlement of Shvut Rachel, near the Palestinian village of Khirbet Sarra situated in the northern West Bank between Ramallah and Nablus, on March 31, 2017.

Palestinians want the West Bank and East Jerusalem for their own state, along with the Gaza Strip.

"Peace is not going to be achieved by tolerating such crimes", he said.

Other reports by VgToday

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