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Hamas slams Israeli plan to build new settlements, calls it ‘open aggression’ on Palestinians

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)
This file picture shows a general view of construction at the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramat Givat Zeev in the occupied-West Bank. (Photo by Reuters)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s decision to construct thousands of new settler units in the occupied West Bank as “open aggression” on Palestinians despite international outcry.

Hamas, in a statement released on Monday, criticized the plan as “a new crime that amounts to open-ended aggression against the Palestinian nation.”

“The Israeli decision adds up to the list of crimes that the occupying Tel Aviv regime is perpetrating across the West Bank,” it added.

“Such crimes push Palestinians to stand united in the face of Israeli crimes.”

Hamas further called on the Arab and Muslim nations, as well as freedom-loving people worldwide, to mobilize efforts to support the steadfastness of Palestinians until they fulfill their aspirations to return and establish an independent sovereign state.

The statement came hours after Israeli authorities approved the construction of 5,623 new illegal settler units in the West Bank, in continuation of its illegal settlement expansion and land grab activities in the occupied territories.

According to a report by the official Palestinian WAFA news agency, the approval includes depositing plans for the construction of 4,291 new colonial settler units, which constitutes an advanced stage of planning and construction by the occupation authorities.

The report said the plans are implemented before issuing tenders for the implementation of construction projects.

The approval also includes 1,332 building plans which are submitted and will be approved after a session for hearing objections, before final approval and preparation of tenders, it added.

Israeli media outlets said 1,000 new settler units, more than what Israel’s far-right administration approved last week, will be built in Eli settlement, south of the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The approval came after an agreement between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister for military affairs Yoav Gallant, and finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, the reports added.

Earlier this month, the secretary general of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit denounced the Israeli settlement expansion policy, urging the US administration, the main supporter of Israel, to take a firm stance against the Israeli plans.

White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby said at the time that Washington’s policy is consistent in opposing any unilateral decisions to advance Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“We have long made clear our concerns about additional settlements in the West Bank, that we don’t want to see actions taken that are going to make a two-state solution that much more difficult to achieve,” Kirby said during a White House press briefing.

“We don’t want to see steps taken that only increase the tensions and we’ve been very clear about that. Nothing’s changed about our policy.”

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

While all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, Israel has stepped up settlement expansion in blatant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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