Israel 'advances' plans for more settlement homes in West Bank

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10 June, 2017

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi Thursday said Israel is making a mockery of the worldwide community and the global justice system with its recent announcements to construct 3,000 illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

June 5, 1967 was the beginning of the Six-Day War in the Middle East, which ended with Israel's army capturing the West Bank.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, made the announcement on Thursday, saying that the Tel Aviv regime has served up plans for building a total of 3,178 units this week.

Last month, MEF and Republican members of Congress launched the initiative's American iteration, the "Israel Victory Caucus", to push for a revision of USA negotiating strategy in the Middle East. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said the time has come for "a new U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...they (the Palestinians) must give up the goal of destroying Israel and recognize Israel as the Jewish state".

Mr Netanyahu however faces political pressure from the settler movement, which wields heavy influence in his right-wing governing coalition.

On Tuesday, a defence ministry planning committee advanced 1,500 units, while more than 900 more were added on Wednesday, Peace Now said.

Successive Israeli governments have invested billions of dollars over the past 50 years on settlements in the occupied West Bank, making any withdrawal from the Palestinian territory a costly proposition.

Amnesty International has called on the United Kingdom to ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and use its influence to stop human rights abuses against Palestinians.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, including in annexed east Jerusalem.

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She explained she met people who are third and fourth generation of Palestinians who don't know what it's like to be free and other Israelis who don't know what it's like not to be an occupier.

Expansions in the remote settlements are particularly onerous to any peace talks, as they further establish Israel's intentions to keep materially the entire West Bank for themselves, with nothing to grant the Palestinians even a remotely contiguous state.

The committee accused Israel of "stealing Palestinian money" by imposing excessive fines on prisoners, claiming that the fines were used to finance the Israeli military and incarceration systems levied against Palestinians.

While the majority of the planned homes are in pre-existing settlements, some will be built in the first new official settlement in some 25 years, Peace Now said.

Mr Trump has called on Mr Netanyahu to hold back on settlement building as he seeks to build momentum.

However, Trump has given no details about how he plans to restart talks, and there is deep scepticism over whether such an effort would have any chance of success.

For all of those touting the two-state solution as the only way there will be peace, it seems it will never happen as long as the Palestinian side really doesn't want to compromise on anything.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's spokesman called Mr Netanyahu's comment a "challenge" to Mr Trump and the global community.


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