According to Mustafa Barghouti MP, and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Israeli “settlement expansion” has increased by more than 100% while Donald Trump has been president.
In an interview with Anadolu News Agency, Barghouti stressed that the current Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, has no desire to “allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”
He added: “We are facing a dangerous Israeli project, we must confront this with a strong and effective Palestinian unity.”
Barghouti continued by clarifying that the situation in the West Bank has worsened.
“There are no areas under the control of the Palestinian security authority. Israel has divided the West Bank into 225 small cut-off islands, through checkpoints, the separation wall and colonial settlements” he said.
According to human rights organisations, settlement activities have reached an unprecedented level since the beginning of this year.
According to data released last month by the Israeli Peace Now movement plans to build 6,500 settlement units in the West Bank have been approved since the beginning of 2017, compared to 2,629 settlement units in 2016 and 1982 settlement units in 2015.
Barghouti went on to discuss the ongoing reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah. He noted that “ending the division and forming a Palestinian national front and a united leadership are among the most important elements of changing the balance of power between us (Palestine) and Israel.”b
But he went on, “It is not yet clear whether the reconciliation is heading towards success or failure.”
“There are three parties with different points of views. Israel does not want the reconciliation but wants to reduce the pressure on itself and, as a result, it is putting obstacles in the way,” he claimed.
He continued, “Some international actors want the reconciliation agreement to lead to normalization of the status quo. This is like the Oslo agreement but may be much worse.”