Israel’s illegal West Bank settlement plans face global condemnation | Palestinian Authority News

The 3,500 illegal homes in the occupied West Bank are in addition to the nearly 20,000 approved in the past year.

Israel’s plan to build thousands of new homes in the occupied West Bank is facing widespread condemnation from several countries, including some of Tel Aviv’s closest allies.

The country’s settlement planning authority on Wednesday gave the green light to nearly 3,500 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, the first such approval since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7 last year.

Israeli settlements have long been viewed by the international community as a violation of international law and as an obstacle to the Palestinian state. Officials say the latest constructions, planned in Maale Adumim, Kedar and Efrat, are in retaliation for a February shooting of illegal settlers.

“The enemies are trying to harm and weaken us, but we will continue to build and be built in this country,” far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank, said on X.

Smotrich said the structures add to the 18,515 homes in illegal settlements approved in the past year.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry has called the settlements illegal and illegitimate, adding that they are “a call to continue the cycle of violence.”

“The ministry calls for swift international sanctions to deter Israel from building and absorbing more settlements [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, as well as any other Israeli official playing a role in deepening and financing illegal settlements,” the ministry said in a statement.

Global condemnation

Hamas, the group that rules the Gaza Strip, has called Israel’s move “a confirmation of the Zionist plan aimed at controlling our country, restricting and isolating our people.”

“We affirm that this false statement has no legal or legal basis, and is nothing other than a message of defiance and recklessness,” the group said in a statement, calling on the United Nations to “take punitive action against this criminal entity and its Nazi organizations.” leaders”.

Hamas also warned “against remaining silent [Israel’s] violations that increase tension and escalation in the region.”

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said the settlements were unilateral and illegal measures that violate international law and undermine peace efforts and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Similarly, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has said it is necessary to “provide hope to the Palestinian people, enable them to obtain their rights to a safe life, and establish their Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital. in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant international resolution”.

Further afield, in Europe, Germany has asked Israel to withdraw the plans, adding that they are “a serious violation of international law.”

“We strongly condemn the approval of further settlement units in the West Bank,” the federal Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the plans were “illegal, disappointing and counterproductive to achieving lasting peace.”

“Our government remains firmly opposed to settlement expansion,” Blinken said at a news conference in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires last week.

“In our judgment, it only weakens and does not weaken Israel’s security,” he added, although he made no mention of the tangible consequences Israel could face from expanding settlements.

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