Israel approves first new West Bank settlement in decades
Israel’s security cabinet has approved construction of a new settlement in the occupied West Bank for ex-residents of the Amona outpost demolished under a Supreme Court ruling last month. This is to be the first Israeli settlement in over 20 years.
The measure must, however, be approved by all ministers who are not part of the security cabinet through a telephone poll, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement, according to Haaretz.
The new settlement is to be built in the area of Emek Shilo, the statement added.
“I made a promise that we would establish a new settlement. There are a few hours until then and you will get all the details,” Netanyahu told reporters earlier on Thursday, according to Reuters.
The settlement is to be built for residents of the Amona enclave that was demolished last month following an Israeli Supreme Court ruling stating it was built on privately owned Palestinian land. Some 40 families have been left without homes.
Palestinian officials condemned Netanyahu’s decision to authorize construction on land which Palestinians claim as part of their future state.
“Today’s announcement once again proves that Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace,” said Hanan Ashrawi, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Reuters reported.
The decision comes amid discussions between Israel and the US concerning Israeli setlements. President Donald Trump was expected to support Israel, but quite surprisingly called on “holding back on settlements for a little bit.”
While the US administration has yet to comment on the new settlement construction, a senior White House official told Haaretz that Netanyahu announced new settlements despite President Trump’s concerns over the issue.
“President Trump has publicly and privately expressed his concerns regarding settlements,”said the official. “As the Administration has made clear: while the existence of settlements is not in itself an impediment to peace, further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace. The Israeli government has made clear that going forward, its intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes the President’s concerns into consideration. The United States welcomes this.”
Nearly 400,000 Jewish settlers are currently living in the West Bank along with 2.8 million Palestinians. Another 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem, an area claimed by Palestinians.
“The decision comes amid discussions between Israel and the US concerning Israeli setlements. President Donald Trump was expected to support Israel, but quite surprisingly called on “holding back on settlements for a little bit.”
i am sure they are listening donald.. *sarcasm