Israel has approved 31 zoning plans, each containing a small number of housing units or facilities, in the occupied West Bank, in the first such move since the new coalition government came into office on 13 June.
The move, which was passed on Wednesday, saw 18 of the construction plans receiving final approval in illegal settlements such as Alfei Menashe, Elkana, Havat Sde Bar and Yitzhar. The approval is the first of its kind in six months.
According to Haaretz, chairman of the Joint List alliance of Arab-majority parties, Ayman Odeh, denounced the approval of the construction in the settlements.
"The government has existed for less than two weeks, and already, 31 construction plans have been approved in the settlements," Odeh said. "The left is surrendering to the right and setting the diplomatic issue aside, but the right continues to sabotage the chances of peace and to deepen the occupation, repression, and dispossession of millions of Palestinians."
Yesterday, the United Nations accused Israel of blatantly violating international law and called on it to halt the illegal expansion. According to Al Jazeera, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General and Tor Wennesland, UN Mideast envoy, referenced a 2016 Security Council resolution that declared the occupation's settlements as having "no legal validity."
"I again underscore, in no uncertain terms, that Israeli settlements constitute a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions and international law," Wennesland said. "They are a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution and a just, long lasting and comprehensive peace. The advancement of all settlement activity must cease immediately."
Several human rights groups took to Twitter to express their objections to the construction project.
The new Israeli government just approved 31 new settlements.
Naftali Bennett, the new Prime Minister, is a far-right extremist who won't stop stealing Palestinian land unless the Biden Administration stands up for human rights and international law.https://t.co/UXUPeEkROk
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) June 23, 2021
Settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are considered illegal under international law and by much of the international community.