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Israel's new settlement plan for occupied Quds draws more intl. condemnation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A picture taken on October 14, 2020 shows Israeli construction cranes and excavators at a building site of new housing units in the settlement of Kochav Yaakov, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (By AFP)

Israel’s plans to build more than 1,200 new settler units in occupied Palestinian territories have drawn further international condemnation, with the Arab League calling it a “dangerous” move that needs to be addressed properly.

In a statement released on Monday, Saeed Abu Ail, the Arab League’s assistant secretary-general for Palestine affairs and occupied Arab territories, urged the international community to express their outright rejection of the Tel Aviv regime’s contentious decision.

He called for greater pressure on Israeli officials in order to force them into abandoning such projects, which are being implemented in defiance of the international community’s will, international law as well as relevant United Nations resolutions.

Abu Ali highlighted that settlement expansion projects imperil the viability of a so-called two-state solution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s housing ministry announced on the weekend that it had opened up tenders for 1,257 new settler units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The new construction would further cut off access for the Palestinians to Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, which they seek as the capital of their future state.

The senior Arab League official also denounced a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the occupied West Bank, terming it as “an attempt to consolidate [Israeli] settlements and annexation.”

Abu Ali stressed that the visit constitutes a precedent, as all US secretaries of state have abstained from committing such an act.

Such a move confirms that President Donald Trump’s administration is resolved to advance its policies and projects irrespective of international law and UN resolutions, he said.

The plan also substantiates the fact that Washington and the Tel Aviv regime are partners in crime when it comes to settlement construction, annexation and Judaization of occupied Palestinian territories, Abu Ali added.

France condemns new Israeli settlement plan 

Separately, France on Monday censured the Israeli announcement, which was made despite the blatant illegality of such a project.

“France condemns the announcements relating to the construction of 1,257 homes in the Israeli settlement of Givat Hamatos, in East Jerusalem (al-Quds). The expansion of this settlement is a direct challenge to the viability of a future Palestinian state, as the EU has repeatedly reaffirmed,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed that Israel violates international law with its settlement policy, in addition to jeopardizing the chances of a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Settlement activity is illegal under international law and undermines, on the ground, the two-state solution. France calls on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision,” the statement added.

The French Foreign Ministry also called for an end to any unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution based on internationally agreed parameters, which it said is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.

Egypt joins chorus of condemnations

Moreover, Ahmed Hafez, spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that Cairo is concerned that Israeli regime’s settlement expansion policies will undermine chances of a “two-state solution”, isolate East Jerusalem al-Quds from its Palestinian environs, and obstruct efforts to end the stalemate in the Palestinian issue.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Since Trump took office in December 2016, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

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