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Israeli settlements almost tripled in 1st half of 2017: Report

The picture shows a general view of the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

A newly published report shows that the scale of the Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories has increased by almost three times in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

The Palestinian national office for the defense of land and resistance of settlement released the figure in its weekly report on Saturday.

The recent escalation of the Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds is in full disregard of international condemnations, the report said.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu took part in a cornerstone ceremony for the construction of 1,000 new units in the settlement of Beitar Ilit, near the West Bank Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

Saturday’s report said the new structures were meant to house the Israelis who were evicted from Amona, an illegal settlement shut down by the Supreme Court.

Troops storm West Bank town, detain 5 residents

In another development on Saturday, Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank town of Ya’bad and clashed with its residents.

Israeli forces aim their weapons during clashes with Palestinian protesters near the settlement of Beit El, close to the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 24, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The Israeli soldiers took into custody at least five Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy.

Ya’bad Mayor Samer Abu Bakr told the Palestinian Wafa news agency that the raid took place after midnight.

The Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the Palestinians, causing several to suffer from tear gas inhalation, according to local reports.

Israeli soldiers regularly storm Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

In recent months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in a blatant violation of international law and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

The resolution, which was passed last December, states that Israel’s establishment of settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, “had no legal validity” and urges the regime to immediately and completely cease all its settlement activities.

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