UN, Palestinians censure Israeli settlement expansion

July 25, 2016 7:00 pm

This photo shows a general view
of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit near the occupied West
Bank city of Bethlehem, May 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The
and Palestinian officials have strongly denounced
Israeli plans to construct nearly 800 illegal settler units in the
occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

According
to Israeli non-profit organization, Ir Amim, which opposes settlement
construction in the occupied Palestinian territories, the units would
expand the Gilo settlement on the southern perimeter of East al-Quds.
They are part of a larger plan for around 1,200 settler units approved
some three years ago.
The move to further advance the plans has drawn condemnation both from and Palestinian officials. 
Nickolay
Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the peace process,
said in a statement on Monday that the world body condemns the move by
Israeli authorities to expand illegal settler units in the occupied
Palestinian lands.
“I strongly
condemn the recent decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to
build some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on the
lands of occupied Palestinian towns and villages between Bethlehem and
east Jerusalem.”
Meanwhile, Saeb
Erekat, the secretary general of the Liberation
Organization (PLO), said the Tel Aviv regime’s decision “further
reflects the failure of the international community to stop Israel’s
settlement expansion.”
In a
recent meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris on
Thursday, French President Francois Hollande warned of the “fragility”
of the situation in the Middle East, citing “continued
settlement-building” by Israel as a threat. 
Hollande touched on a recent report by the Quartet – the US, the European Union, Russia and the UN – which said, “Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion.”
The
Quartet condemned settlements in its report, issued earlier this month,
urging Tel Aviv to stop its policy of “designating land for exclusive
Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development.” 

A
general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli
settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds on March
7, 2016. (© AFP)The
United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as
illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967
and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid
construction on occupied lands.
The
presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied
Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish
peace in the Middle East. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of
their future independent state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its
capital.
More than half a million
Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and
East Jerusalem al-Quds.

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