[News] In defiance of UN, Israel set to approve thousands of settler units

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 26 11:35:05 EST 2016

*In defiance of UN, Israel reportedly set to approve thousands of 
settler units*

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 
domestic law.

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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