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Iran Press TV

Netanyahu goes ahead with settlement project, contravening intl. law

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 5:18 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the construction of some 3,500 new settlements in a contentious area in the occupied West Bank, defying international law.

The construction plan, announced by Netanyahu on Tuesday, was related to the so-called E1 area between the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Ma'ale Adumim settlement that would bisect the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

The project had since 2012 been frozen due to objections from governments around the world supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israeli prime minister also announced another controversial move last week, saying he was reviving a project to build 3,000 new settler homes at Givat Hamatos on the outskirts of East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, said at the time that Netanyahu, who is currently leading a caretaker cabinet after two elections failed to produce a clear winner, lacked the required mandate to approve the controversial projects. Through using the settlement projects as a pre-election tactic, Peace Now said, Netanyahu is trying to secure his re-election at a third vote scheduled to take place on March 2.

'Crossing all red lines'

In reaction to the Tuesday announcement, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Netanyahu's decision was the result of the "biased and dangerous American policy in favor of the Israeli occupation," and violated international law as well as the United Nations (UN) resolutions on settlements, specifically Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), which confirmed the illegality of the Israeli settlements.

Abu Rudeineh said Netanyahu's announcement had "crossed all red lines," and he also called on the international community to act.

The spokesman also said that the decision challenged the statement passed unanimously on Monday by the UN Security Council to refrain from undermining the viability of a two-state solution.

Under a plan for the Middle East unveiled last month by US President Donald Trump, US would recognize Israeli "sovereignty" over all of al-Quds as well as settlements in the occupied territories.

Palestinians have also rejected Trump's plan as a conspiracy.

Emboldened by that support, however, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds "a flagrant violation under international law."

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

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.

Meanwhile, Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers during a protest near a military roadblock in the northern area of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

The protest had erupted in denunciation of Trump's plan, with medical sources in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) saying at least 40 demonstrators were injured and five of them were hospitalized after being shot by gunfire.

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