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Israel to approve construction of thousands of new settlement units

Construction workers build illegal settlements in West Bank on 25th August 2017 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to approve the construction of 3,300 new settlement units during the next meeting of the Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee, which is set to be held on 16 October, Israel’s Channel 7 has reported. Netanyahu made his pledge during a closed meeting on Wednesday with the leaders of the Yesha Council of the West Bank Settlements.

Although all of Israel’s settlements are built on occupied Palestinian territory and are illegal under international law, Netanyahu claims that the Trump administration is prepared to “tolerate” limited settlement building. He told the settlers’ group that he has succeeded in convincing Trump to drop its distinction between settlement blocs and so-called isolated settlements. The US President is, he added, almost ready to present a plan for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Most of the settlement blocs are large built-up areas located near the Green (1949 Armistice) Line which separates the occupied West Bank from Israel. “Isolated” settlements are located in more far-flung areas of the West Bank and are surrounded by numerous Palestinian homes. They are mostly illegal even under Israeli law.

The Israeli leader also reiterated his promise to build 300 new homes in the settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah. These will replace a number of homes in the settlement which were demolished in 2012.

Read: Who will stop the Israeli settlements?

The settlers’ committee called for the government to bring forward the construction of 10,000 housing units in the settlements of Negohot and Migron, as well as in the predominantly Arab West Bank city of Hebron, following the eight-year new settlement construction “freeze” in the occupied territory which was imposed by former US President Barack Obama.

The international community has repeatedly said that the continuous Israeli settlement activity is an “obstacle to peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. Settlements have been universally condemned and all structures are illegal under international law. On 23 December 2016 the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Israel to halt immediately and fully its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Nevertheless, this week Netanyahu attended “The Jubilee Celebration of the Liberation of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights” which was held in Tel Aviv’s Gush Etzion settlement to “celebrate” 50 years of Israel’s colonial-settlement programme. The event was reported to have been boycotted by several foreign countries and the European Union.

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  • Helen

    it is time to start making isrl pay back all the money they got from the west.. i do not type the real name because i do not recognize it as a state. palestine is not their country yet they are allowed to rob more and more land and take more and more lives with american tax dollars. when do the aemrican people realize that this rogue state is not in their best interests?

    • Helen4Yemen

      From page 280 of THE COMPLETE DIARIES OF THEODOR HERZL

      “November 24 (1985)

      Lunched at the home of Sir Samuel Montagu, M.P. A house of English elegance, in
      grand style. Sir Samuel a splendid old chap, the best Jew I have met thus far.
      At table he presides over his family— which is actually unfriendly, or merely
      wellbred— with the air of a good-natured patriarch. Kosher food, served by three
      liveried footmen. After lunch, in the smoking room, I expounded my case. I
      gradually roused him to enthusiasm. He confessed to me— in confidence— that he
      felt himself to be more an Israelite than an Englishman. He said he would settle
      in Palestine with his whole family. He has in mind a Greater Palestine rather
      than the old one. He will hear nothing of Argentina. He is ready to join our
      committee as soon as one of the GreatPowers takes the matter seriously. I am to
      send him my pamphlet before its final publication.”
      __________________
      1) They did not want only Palestine but “Greater Palestine” – that is ‘Greater Israel”
      All of Palestine
      All of Jordan
      All Lebanon
      2/3 of Syria
      1/2 of Saudi Arabia
      Egypt up to the Nile

      2) Sir Samuel Montagu confessed to Herzl that he felt no loyalty to England but
      he felt he was an “Israelite”. It is amazing that white Europeans would feel they are
      non-white.

  • kirby1

    President Ronald Reagan explicitly stated that settlements were “not illegal” a position reinforced by President George W. Bush who provided implicit recognition of the legitimacy of settlements when he noted that, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…”

    Those who condemn settlement activity rely on Article 49, Clause 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that, “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    As previously noted, the claim that Israel is an “Occupying Power” as defined in Article 49 is dubious at best. Israel maintains a valid, legal claim to the West Bank, far superior to those of the Palestinians or any other entity. But even if Israel was to be given the designation of “Occupying Power,” Article 49 would still be inapplicable.

    Israel has not transferred or deported any part of its population into the West Bank. Individual Jews, with varied motivations, voluntarily moved into these territories. Moreover, many Israelis were born in the West Bank thus further highlighting the inapplicability of Article 49. Article 49 does not impose on Israel any duty to prevent its citizens from developing or moving into the West Bank.

    Ambassador Morris Abram, a member of the U.S. staff at the Nuremburg Tribunal who was intimately involved with the drafting of the Fourth Geneva Convention, forcefully noted that Article 49(6) “was not designed to cover situations like Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, but rather the forcible transfer, deportation or resettlement of large numbers of people.” Other acclaimed and notable scholars such as Eugene V. Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School and former US Assistant Secretary of State, Stephen M. Schwebel, President of the International Court of Justice, Nicholas Rostow, university counsel and vice chancellor for legal affairs of the State University of New York, David M. Phillips, professor at Northeastern University School of Law and Fulbright Scholar and Professor Julius Stone, international lawyer and prolific author have voiced similar positions and have highlighted the absurdity of applying Article 49(6) in the context of Israeli settlements.

    On July 9, 2012 a committee, headed by the respected former Israeli Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy, concluded that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not an “occupation” within the meaning of Article 49 and that the settlements were not illegal. Recently, 1,000 jurists of various nationalities signed a petition supporting the findings and conclusions of the Levy Report and submitted it to the EU’s foreign policy chief and one of Israel’s shrillest critics, Catherine Ashton.