Al-Jazeera & Agence France-Presse – 2018-06-01 21:22:16
Israel Approves More than
2,000 Settlement Units in West Bank
Israeli machinery removes trees near a Jewish settlement in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.
(May 31, 2018) — The Israeli government has approved the construction of 2,070 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, local media reported. Israel’s Civil Administration said at least 696 of the units were approved for construction, while1,262 were advanced through an earlier planning stage known as a “deposit”.
According to Israeli organisation Peace Now, 14,454 settlement units in the West Bank have been approved since US President Donald Trump took office, which is more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and a half before his inauguration (4,476 units).
Peace Now condemned the Netanyahu government for taking advantage of the “carte blanche” the Trump administration has given it in order to destroy the chances for peace.
“It is well-known that for a two-state solution to be feasible, Israel will have to withdraw from most of the West Bank. Yet the government keeps raising the political cost of this redeployment and the evictions it will entail,” the organisation said.
Under international law, settlements in occupied territories are considered illegal. Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority government decided to file a war crimes complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court over its settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians for their future state.
The White House released a statement on Wednesday, suggesting that Israel will scale back on future settlement construction in order to allow a US peace plan to progress.
“The president has made his position on new settlement activity clear, and we encourage all parties to continue to work towards peace,” a White House spokesperson told The Times of Israel.
“The Israeli government has made clear that going forward, its intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes the president’s concerns into consideration.”
“The United States welcomes this. As the president has said repeatedly, the administration is firmly committed to pursuing a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
EU Slams Israeli Decision to
Demolish West Bank Bedouin Village
BRUSSELS (May 31, 2018) — The European Union on Thursday urged Israel to reconsider its decision to demolish a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, saying it undermines “prospects for a lasting peace”.
A statement from the EU denounced the intended destruction of the Khan Al-Ahmar village, which comes at the same time as the construction of more Israeli settlements on occupied land.
“Building new settlements for Israelis while demolishing Palestinian homes in the same area will only further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict,” the statement said.
The EU referenced a decision made Wednesday to build nearly 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank, while demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar, “the main land reserve of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state”.
Israel says the village in Area C, which has 180 inhabitants and is located near several Israeli settlements east of Jerusalem, was built without a permit.
“These developments, alongside a number of other related actions taken in recent months, seriously undermine the viability of a negotiated two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the statement said.
“In line with our long-standing position on Israelâ€™s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions.”
The EU said it has raised the issue directly with the Israeli authorities.
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