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Iran Press TV

Israel plans to construct almost 5,000 new settler units in occupied West Bank

Iran Press TV

Monday, 07 September 2020 1:13 PM

Israeli officials are planning to construct thousands of more settler units in the West Bank irrespective of an international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime's settlement expansion policies and its contentious plans to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Israeli minister of military affairs and alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz, is reportedly seeking to approve the construction of some 5,000 new settler units, after more than six months during which such construction has been frozen, Israel's Channel 12 television network reported.

According to the report, which did not cite any sources, Gantz intends to convene the so-called Civil Administration Planning Committee next week to approve the construction.

Gantz has reportedly sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office with a request to assemble the committee.

The move is seen as a potential maneuver by the 61-year-old leader of the centrist Blue and White party to strengthen ties with settler leaders, who are currently fuming at Netanyahu, who purportedly suspended annexation plans and opted instead to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates last month.

Israel and the UAE agreed to a US-brokered deal to normalize relations on August 13. Under the agreement, the Tel Aviv regime has purportedly agreed to "temporarily" suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that Netanyahu had pledged to annex.

While Emirati officials have described the normalization deal with the Tel Aviv regime as a successful means to stave off annexation and save the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli leaders have lined up to reject the bluff of Abu Dhabi's crown prince and de facto ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that Israel's annexation plans were off the table.

Netanyahu has underlined that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

The Palestinians have vehemently censured the UAE-Israel peace deal, which runs counter to a long-standing Arab consensus that any normalization of ties with the Tel Aviv regime has to come in the context of the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

They say the UAE, as an important Arab player in the region, has stabbed fellow Palestinians in the back.

Israeli settler runs over, injures Palestinian child

Separately, a Palestinian child sustained moderate injuries after an Israeli settler ran him over in the southern part of the West Bank.

Palestinian sources said the victim was struck near Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of al-Khalil, located 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Jerusalem al-Quds, on Sunday evening. The Israeli driver fled the scene after the incident.

The sources added that Palestinian medical teams provided first aid to the injured child before taking him to hospital for further treatment.

There have been a series of "hit-and-run" incidents targeting Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank over recent months, with most of them going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities. Some of such events have resulted in fatalities.

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

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel's settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in several resolutions.

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

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