In its first such expected decision, the brand-new Israeli government announced 31 settlement projects in the West Bank.
The Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee gave the green light to 31 projects, including the building of a mall in Mishor Adumim, a special needs school in the settlement of Elkana, and synagogues and Jewish seminaries in Karnei Shomron and Kfar Adumim.
Responding to the move, the Yesha Council settlement umbrella group demanded that the High Planning Subcommittee convene again to approve the building of West Bank settlement homes and not just public building projects.
“We’ve been waiting for half a year for the approval of homes and it still hasn’t happened,” the group said in a statement. “The building committee must immediately convene to approve the building of housing units throughout the region. We’ve waited long enough.”
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, however, condemned the new government for approving any building in the settlements.
“The government has existed for less than two weeks and has already approved 31 building plans in the settlements,” he tweeted.
“The left is surrendering to the right and setting the diplomatic issue aside, but the right continues to sabotage the chances of peace and to deepen the occupation, repression, and dispossession of millions of Palestinians.”
The approval comes after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on June 28th that an illegal West Bank outpost will be razed in accordance with army orders and that the issue will not be a source of division within the fragile coalition government.
“The outpost will be evacuated,” he said. “It is illegal. It is not at all a question of right or left. It is an order from the army and the civil administration.”
Lapid’s remarks came the day after the army rejected an appeal from settlers against razing the outpost.
On June 24th, the United Nations accused Israel of blatantly violating international law and called on it to halt the illegal expansion. According to Al Jazeera, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General and Tor Wennesland, UN Mideast envoy, referenced a 2016 Security Council resolution that declared the occupation’s settlements as having “no legal validity.”
“I again underscore, in no uncertain terms, that Israeli settlements constitute a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions and international law,” Wennesland said. “They are a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution and a just, long lasting and comprehensive peace. The advancement of all settlement activity must cease immediately.”
The new Israeli government just approved 31 new settlements.
Naftali Bennett, the new Prime Minister, is a far-right extremist who won’t stop stealing Palestinian land unless the Biden Administration stands up for human rights and international law.https://t.co/UXUPeEkROk
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) June 23, 2021
Palestinian group Hamas on June 26th called for escalating “popular resistance” against Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
“The occupation government’s approval of a settlement scheme that includes 31 settlement plans in the West Bank proves the extremism of the [Naftali] Bennett’s government by continuing with the policy of settlement intrusion, land grab, and the uprooting of our people,” Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Al-Qanou said in a Twitter post.
Al-Qanou called for “the escalation of the intifada and the expansion of the popular resistance throughout the West Bank to confront the occupation and its settlement projects.”
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