Autor.telesur en ingles.The announcement is only the latest in a series of actions that have flown in the face of a un Security Council resolution condemning the illegal settlements.
“We can build where we want and as much as we want,” an official quoted right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as telling senior ministers on Sunday, when he announced he was lifting restrictions on settlement construction, Reuters reported.
Palestine took no time in responding and warning of “consequences,” as Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, put it.
“The decision will hinder any attempt to restore security and stability; it will reinforce extremism and terrorism and will place obstacles in the path of any effort to start a peace process that will lead to security and peace,” he said, the Guardian reported.
Hanan Ashrawi, from the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee agreed, saying the apartheid-state was taking advantage of the new U.S. administration’s obvious pro-Israel stance.
“It is evident that Israel is exploiting the inauguration of the new American administration to escalate its violations and the prevention of any existence of a Palestinian state,” she said.
According to a statement by the Israeli Defense Ministry, Avigdor Lieberman, construction would take place mostly on existing “major settlement blocs.” These are areas already occupied by settlers which Israel wants to keep under any future peace deal with Palestine.
This includes major blocs with around 350,000 settlers in the West Bank and another 200,000 in East Jerusalem, areas seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. The same areas are home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.
Yet, beyond these areas, which are close to Israel’s border, there are more than 100 settlements outposts scattered across hilltops in the West Bank, according to Reuters.
Following Tuesday’s announcement, the prime minister’s office revealed that some of these areas outside the “major settlement blocs” were also being targeted for construction.
One such example is the settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah, an area “deep within the Palestinian territory,” according to Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, who’s reporting from East Jerusalem. Lieberman – himself a settler – has said 100 new homes will be constructed there.
Not surprisingly, the area is rife with Trump’s stink, considering it is where his new U.S. ambassador to Israel and staunch settler supporter, David Friedman, has served as president of the American Friends of Beit El, a fundraising group to support illegal settlements.
Moreover, part of that money has come directly from the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now his top adviser, including $20,000 in 2013, the Middle East Monitor reported. This on top of the “few million dollars a year on average” that Kushner’s family donates to support such illegal settlements, according to the agency.
Other areas to be further occupied include Samaria and Judea, both in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, where hundreds of new homes are slated for construction, Reuters reported.
In December, the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution – with the notable abstention of the U.S. under Barack Obama– condemning Israel’s settlements on the West Bank and Gaza Strip as illegal, and ordering the apartheid-state to stop the construction of more settlements.
Israel responded by pulling many of its ambassadors out of the nations that voted against it and by continuing to build illegal settlements.
Those actions have received widespread condemnation from the international community, including from the European Union, which has said Israel’s plans “further seriously undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution,” Reuters reported.