Palestine Liberation Organization slams US silence over Israel settlement plans

January 26, 2017 12:26 pm

A view of Israeli settlement Beit El in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 25, 2017 (Photo by AFP).

The (PLO) has expressed shock over the US silence with regard to the new Israeli plans to build more illegal settlements in the West Bank.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat on Wednesday lashed out at the White House for its refusal to comment on Israel’s settlement expansion plans in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem al-Quds, and called on President Donald Trump’s administration to clarify its stance.
“We used to hear condemnations, we used to hear American positions saying ‘(Israel) should stop settlement activities, it’s an obstacle to peace,'” Erekat said.
“Not commenting, does that mean that President Trump is encouraging… settlement activities? We need an answer from the American administration,” he added.
Erekat called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its policies and added that Tel Aviv has been emboldened by “what they consider encouragement by American President Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and minister of military affairs Avigdor Liberman announced the approval of 2,500 housing units in the West Bank. The announcement came on top of approval of another plan last week for construction of 566 residential units in several neighborhoods of the Jerusalem al-Quds.
The White House spokesman Sean Spicer refused to take a stance on the issue on Tuesday.
“Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States. He (Trump) wants to grow closer to Israel to make sure it gets the full respect in the ,” Spicer said in response to a question about Trump’s stance on Israel’s new settlement construction.
“We will have a conversation with the [Israeli] prime minister,” he noted.
Speaking at the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, Netanyahu said the latest settlement approval is just a “taste” of new measures which will be taken now that Barack Obama is no longer the US president.
“We are leaving the period. This building [approval] was a taste. We are going to be doing many things differently from now on,” he said.

Secretary General of Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat attends a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister in Moscow on January 13, 2017 (Photo by AFP).

Despite its recent resolution against the illegal settlements, the United Nations Security Council refrained from taking any measures against the move following a closed-door meeting held on Wednesday.
After the meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the Security Council must ensure the execution of its own resolutions and that the Tel Aviv regime must not be permitted to “get away” with constructing more settlements. 
Over 230 illegal settlements have been constructed since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The illegal structures have hampered attempts to establish peace in the Middle East.
In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 that denounced the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
In a rare move, the US, under the administration of former president Barack Obama, refused to veto the anti-Israeli resolution. 
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