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Criticism Mounts Against Israeli Settlement Activity

Criticism Mounts Against Israeli Settlement Activity

Sunday, 22 October, 2017 - 07:15
More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem [Reuters]

A wave of criticism has recently hit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government for Israel’s advancement this week of plans for 2,733 settler homes in the West Bank.

Israel's former Foreign Affairs Minister who oversaw the Jewish state's negotiations with the Palestinians lambasted Netanyahu and his government for making legislative efforts she said were leading Israel in the wrong direction.

Speaking at a cultural event on Saturday, Livni raised concerns about settlement construction saying that "settlements do not add to Israel's security."

These activities are causing "the world to boycott us," she stressed.

"Israel is divided on two ways of continuing. My way is the road to a Jewish and democratic state, and I stop at the point where we separate from the Palestinians. If we can't reach an agreement with them, I will take certain steps: I won't build settlements, and certainly not on the other side of our security fence. I won't send young couples to live in places from which, if we reach an agreement, they may be evacuated. I will try to bring the world to recognize the borders we create if we don't have a partner for peace."

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said that the aspirations of the Palestinian people to live a life of freedom and dignity still remain a distant and elusive ideal, even after 50 years have passed since their homeland was illegally occupied by Israel.

Speaking in the Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East, Lodhi insisted that: “As a first step, the illegal and oppressive siege of Gaza by Israel must be lifted.”

Lodhi also warned the Council that any one-sided attempts by Israel to alter the status quo in the old city of Jerusalem would not be acceptable to Muslims all around the world.

“Creating alternate ‘facts on the ground’ cannot change historic realities or neutralize the legal rights of people living under foreign occupation, in Palestine, and elsewhere”, she said.

“A viable, independent and a contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only sustainable guarantee for enduring peace in the Middle East”, she stressed.

Furthermore, UN Security Council members and the EU condemned Israel’s advancement of new settlements in Judea and Samaria, warning that it could lead to a one-state reality.

“Settlement activity is taking place at an unprecedented pace, it can result in a reality of a state with two citizenship regimes, and this is a situation that is unequal and can lead to disastrous consequences,” France said.

“We are very near the point of non-return,” France added. “It destroyed politically and on the ground the very possibility of having two states.”

Russia, Japan, Sweden and the UK were among the countries that also made statements about the work of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, which on Wednesday ended a three-day meeting to advance the homes.

The European Union said it has asked Israel to clarify its actions and called for it to reconsider its decisions.

Such activity is “detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks,” the EU said.

“The EU’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities... is clear and has not changed: all settlement activity is illegal under international law, and it undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace,” the EU said.

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