AMMAN: Israel approved on Tuesday 1,122 new settlement units throughout the West Bank, and published tender announcements for 651 units, Israeli NGO Peace Now said.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said: “President (Donald) Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not only disqualify the US from playing any constructive role toward achieving peace, but it provided the extremist Israeli government with an opportunity and the green light to speed up its plans for the dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, told Arab News: “This is settler colonialism on the rampage. Israel is sealing the fate of the West Bank and Palestinian statehood unilaterally while the world seems to be helpless and hapless. Israeli arrogance of power and impunity is shameful indeed.”
Brian Reeves, external affairs director at Peace Now, told Arab News: “The Israeli government is attempting to destroy the possibility of a two-state solution and the prospects of peace by building more and more in the settlements.”
He added: “This agenda runs counter to Israel’s national interest, as well as the interests of everyone who seeks a peaceful future in the region.”
Israel is reportedly considering recognizing settlement units built contrary to Israeli law. International law considers all settlements illegal as they are built on occupied territory.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he has “ordered an examination of the possibility of legalizing Havat Gilad and making it a community among the other settlements” in the West Bank.
Dozens of families live in Havat Gilad, which was established in 2002, but none of the homes have permits. Many of its buildings have been demolished by Israel only to be rebuilt.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday slammed Israel’s continued settlement activity.
He called on the international community, especially the EU, to take active steps to recognize Palestine as a state.