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Palestine urges US pressure on Israel to stop fresh settlement plans

Israeli security forces block the entrances to the West Bank village of Burqah, near the illegal Israeli outpost Homesh, ahead of a protest by Israeli settlers on December 23, 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli security forces block the entrances to the West Bank village of Burqah, near the illegal Israeli outpost Homesh, ahead of a protest by Israeli settlers on December 23, 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Palestine, on Monday, called on the US administration to pile pressure on Israel to halt plans for new settlement building in the occupied West Bank, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The US President concluded a maiden visit to the Middle East region last week that included Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

"As soon as Biden concluded his visit to the region, the occupation government approved new settlement plans in various parts of the West Bank," Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said at a Cabinet meeting, according to the state news agency, Wafa.

"Israel has announced plans to seize hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem and Ramallah districts in the occupied West Bank in order to build 30,000 new settlement housing units," he said.

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The Palestinian Premier appealed to the US administration to intervene to stop Israeli schemes "that would undermine the two-state solution".

"Israel must immediately stop all settlement activities, as demanded in United Nations resolutions, in order to preserve the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent State," Shtayyeh said.

Biden said, following his meeting with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, that the two-state solution was "so far away." He, however, reiterated his support for the two-state solution "along the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

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According to Israel human rights NGO, Peace Now, around 666,000 settlers live in 145 settlements and 140 outposts – not licensed by the Israeli government – in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Israeli settlement-building activity illegal.

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