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US says Israel settlements undermine possibility of 'contiguous Palestinian State'

November 29, 2023 at 6:23 pm

US Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield talks to press during in the Reyhanli district of Hatay, Turkiye on June 02 2022 [Raşit Aydoğan/Anadolu Agency]

The US said, Wednesday, that Israel’s advancement of illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank threatens the formation of a viable Palestinian State, Anadolu Agency reports.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the American UN envoy, said the Biden administration “strongly” opposes Israel’s ongoing expansion of settlements, which she said, “undermines the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian State.”

The settlements are widely regarded as illegal under international law and are being built in defiance of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Article 49 of the landmark Accord prohibits occupying powers from transferring

parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” and the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of” the occupied territory’s inhabitants

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has significantly expanded settlement construction and is slated to vote on a new funding package that includes $1.3 billion in new funding for expansion.

Thomas-Greenfield said the US is “deeply troubled by the sharp rise in violence by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank,” reiterating US President Joe Biden’s threat to impose visa sanctions on perpetrators.

Extremists that attack civilians in the West Bank must be held accountable, and this violence must stop. And President Biden has made clear that the United States is prepared to take action, including by issuing visa bans against these extremists

she said.

The US envoy reiterated US support for a two-state solution in which Gaza and the West Bank “are reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalised Palestinian Authority (PA).”

“This is the only guarantor of a secure and democratic Israel. This is the only guarantor of Palestinians realising their legitimate aspirations to a State of their own,” she added.

The comments are in defiance of Netanyahu, who has sought to rule out the possibility of the PA’s return to Gaza after hostilities conclude. He said earlier this month that there “needs to be something else there,” rather than the Authority.

Netanyahu’s hold on power has been increasingly tenuous with abysmal approval ratings that have dropped significantly since the start of the war in October.

In a bid to make his case for continuing with his premiership, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister reportedly told fellow Likud party members that he is “the only one who will prevent a Palestinian State in Gaza” and the West Bank after the war ends, according to Israeli public broadcaster, Kan.

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