[News] In defiance of UN, Israel set to approve thousands of settler units
news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 26 11:35:05 EST 2016
*In defiance of UN, Israel reportedly set to approve thousands of
Dec. 26, 2016 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774598
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Days after the UN Security Council approved a
resolution affirming the illegality of Israeli settlements in the
occupied Palestinian territory and called for their construction to
cease, reports emerged that Israel is set to approve thousands of new
settler units in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Local Planning and Building Committee of the Jerusalem municipality
is expected to approve some 5,600 housing units in East Jerusalem for
illegal settlements, the Hebrew version of daily newspaper Israel Hayom
reported Sunday morning.
According to Israel Hayom, the move came as a direct response to the
UNSC resolution 2334, that passed with unanimous approval from 14
council members, while the US abstained from voting.
The reports said that the committee will approve 2,600 housing units in
the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, 2,600 others in Givat HaMatos,
and 400 units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement.
In response to a request for comment on the reports, a spokesperson for
the Jerusalem municipality only said: "Building Jerusalem is essential
for the development of the city for the benefit of all residents, Jews
and Arabs alike. The city will continue, with all of the tools at its
disposal, to develop our capital in accordance with the city's master
plan and planning and construction laws."
Israel Hayomalso quoted deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meir Turjuman as
saying that he “did not care” about the United Nations or “any other
entity that tries to dictate to us what to do in Jerusalem.
The deputy mayor also reportedly said he was looking forward to the
incoming Donald Trump administration
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774561>to “make up for the
shortage in construction during Obama's eight-year tenure."
Despite the US government under Barack Obama, having routinely condemned
Israel’s settlement expansions
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=773464>, US officials have yet
to take any concrete actions to end settlement building and instead
inadvertently encouraged the enterprise through consistent inaction over
Israel’s violation of international law and continued support of the
Israeli government throughinflated military aid packages
The number of settlers living in the occupied West Bank has increased
from 281,100 in 2008 to 385,900 in 2015, excluding those residing in
occupied East Jerusalem. The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem
(ARIJ) estimates that between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli settlers
currently reside in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements.
Meanwhile, plans for some 3,000 settler units were advanced since the
start 2016 as of August according to Israeli settlement watchdog Peace
Now, including hundreds of existing units that were “retroactively
legalized” after formerly being considered illegal under Israeli
Israeli leadership has reacted with outrage and defiance
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774590> since the UNSC approved
the resolution, which states that settlements have "no legal validity
and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law," and call
on the nations of the world "to distinguish, in their relevant dealings,
between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories
occupied since 1967."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel "would not
abide by the terms" of the "shameful anti-Israel resolution," and
reportedly summoned the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member
states t <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761206>o personally
reprimand each of them on Christmas day.
Meanwhile, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning
again called forthe annexation of the illegal Israeli settlement of
Maale Adumim <http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/222226>
as well as all of Area C in the West Bank -- the more than 60 percent of
the territory currently under full Israeli military and civil control.
Maale Adumim, located just seven kilometers east of Jerusalem, is the
third largest settlement in population size, that many Israelis consider
it an Israeli city that would remain under Israeli control in any final
status agreement reached with Palestinians as part of a two-state solution.
Human rights groups and international leaders have strongly condemned
Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, claiming it
is a strategic maneuver to prevent the establishment of a contiguous,
independent Palestinian state by changing the facts on the ground, while
members of Israel's parliament have repeatedly come forward announcing
their support for annexingArea C
A recent report <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774178>by human
rights group B'Tselem argued that under the guise of a "temporary
military occupation," Israelhas been "using the land as its own: robbing
land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and
establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had
dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of
lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
B’Tselem highlighted the “key role” of Israeli settlers in further
isolating Palestinians from their lands, either through the
establishment of outposts officially unrecognized by the Israeli
government, or through the regular use of violence or threats of
violence against Palestinians.
B’Tselem argued that settlers acted as “envoys” of Israel in pushing
land grabs in the occupied Palestinian territory, allowing the
government to officially detach themselves from the settlers’ violent
and illegal actions, while avoiding or blocking any legal penalties that
could be imposed on the settlers, except in the most extreme of cases.
"The state helps settlers operate as a mechanism for dispossession in
Palestinian space -- settlers serving as a means purportedly not under
state control, and settlers also use serious violence against
Palestinian residents,” the group explained.
The movement of Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian land, and
further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a "stable"
Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in
1967, B'Tselem concluded, underscoring that all "Israeli legislative,
legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies" have played an active role
in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands.
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