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Israel to build over 160 new settler units in occupied West Bank

Israeli officials are planning to construct new housing units in the occupied West Bank irrespective of an international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement expansion policies, besides its contentious plans to annex large parts of the Palestinian territories.

The head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem, Hassan Bureijia, said in a statement on Sunday that High Planning Committee of the Israeli Civil Administration has approved the construction of 164 housing units in Neve Daniel settlement in southern Bethlehem, Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.

Bureijia added that the project will create a new neighborhood built on Palestinian-owned land seized in the town of Khader, located 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) west of Bethlehem, and Nahalin village.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion.

‘Efforts underway to form international coalition against Israel annexation plans’

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat says Palestinian authorities have been mobilizing efforts with the United Nations General Assembly in order to forge an international coalition against the Israeli regime’s annexation plans.

Erekat told the Arabic-language Voice of Palestine radio station on Sunday that the coalition will hold Israeli authorities to account in case such a measure is implemented.

He added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been reaching out to world leaders to remind them that any Israeli annexation means the Palestinians would no longer bear any commitment to agreements struck with Tel Aviv and Washington.

“According to the annexation plan, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wants to downgrade the role of the Palestinian Authority to a servant and a tool for the perpetuation and continuation of the occupation. This falls within the framework of the [so-called] deal of the century and will never happen,” Erekat said.

The deal of the century envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley. The plan also denies Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homeland, among other controversial terms.

Trump’s plan has triggered waves of protest around the globe.

Many Palestinians believe the Israeli plans to annex one-third of the already illegally occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, is only a formality and a de facto Israeli occupation of their land has been under way for many years.

“Israel’s annexation plan has been in process since 1967,” said Salah Khawaja, coordinator of an anti-occupation campaign called the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall and the Settlements.

“Israel has since built settlements and the wall. And so, annexation has been ongoing for a long time,” he added.


Source: Palestine Responds

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