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Palestinian PM urges international community to stop Israel’s settlement construction plans

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (Photo by Wafa news agency)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has urged the international community to halt Israel's illegal settlement expansion activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, as the Tel Aviv regime gets ready to hold its fourth general elections within less than two years.

The Palestinian premier made the remarks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah on Monday, stressing that as Israel is on an almost certain course for snap general elections, the campaigns will focus on increasing settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, just as in all previous ones.

“The international community should oblige the Israeli occupying regime to stop its colonial projects in the Palestinian territory, and to activate United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 since it reflects the international will against settlements,” Palestine’s official Wafa news agency quoted Shtayyeh as saying.  

The remarks came a day after an Israeli media report said the Tel Aviv regime is planning to build thousands of new settler units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office as he is not expected to support such moves when he's president..

The Israeli Kan public broadcaster announced the plan on Sunday, saying Israeli authorities seek to get a construction permit before Biden’s inauguration in January and that Israel's so-called High Council of Planning and Building, which supervises illegal settlement construction, is set to convene in the coming two weeks to approve the construction of the new settler units.

Shtayyeh said Israel’s latest plan to approve the construction of thousands of new settler unites in the occupied territories is a “flagrant disregard” for international law, which considers all Israeli settlement activity illegal.  

He also called on the United Nations to act against Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank and organize teams with a mission to protect Palestinians living there.

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.

After US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, Tel Aviv 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.

Under the so-called Middle East peace plan unveiled by Trump earlier this year, Israel will have sovereignty over all of Jerusalem al-Quds as well as settlements in the occupied territories.

Palestinians have rejected the plan as a conspiracy since they demand East Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of their future state, and many believe the settlement expansion is aimed at surrounding the Palestinian capital.

To Palestinians, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements makes a future state unviable.

Palestinians say all indications prove that Israel is racing against time to build new settlements before the outgoing US administration leaves office.

The Palestinian Authority has also warned that settlement activity has grave consequences in the occupied West Bank, and will definitely lead to more Palestinian land grab by the Israeli regime to facilitate the annexation of the occupied territories.

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