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Palestinian PM Urges US to Stop E1 Israeli Settlement Project

Palestinian PM Urges US to Stop E1 Israeli Settlement Project

Tuesday, 16 February, 2021 - 08:45
A billboard promotes new apartments in the Maale Adumim settlement, east Jerusalem. (AP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the United States and the international community to help stop the E1 settlement project near Jerusalem, which would undermine the two-state solution.


Speaking at a cabinet session, Shtayyeh said that the establishment of E1, which will include 12,000 settlement units, means isolating Jerusalem from the Jordan Valley and separating the northern West Bank from its south.


Shtayyeh warned that the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) would be active in the West Bank and Jerusalem, in order to seize more lands, urging Palestinians to be wary of attempts to seize their land.


He revealed that the organization is registered in the UK, the US and Israel, as a charity that receives donations exempting it from taxes, while illegally using these fund in building settlements.


Shtayyeh vowed to bring all violations committed by the Israeli authorities to the ICC, “as war crimes, in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.”


The E1 is a huge settlement project that was approved in 1999, and includes about 12,000 dunums, the majority of which are lands declared by Israel as “state lands.”


During the 1990s, E1 was annexed to the Maale Adumim settlement, bringing its total area to 48,000 dunums.


The project aims to link Jerusalem with a number of Israeli settlements, through the confiscation of Palestinian land and the establishment of new settlements, in the area between East Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.


The Palestinian Authority (PA) has repeatedly threatened to take severe steps if Israel implements the project, which was rejected by the administration of former US President Barack Obama and various countries.


The Jewish National Fund had previously approved a draft resolution allowing it to work on expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank.


After final approval, the Fund will have the right to purchase land in the West Bank for annexation to existing settlements.


However, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz requested postponing the decision fearing it would anger the United States and the international community.


The Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish movement in the US, also slammed the proposal, saying that while Israel is looking to forge a strong relationship with the Biden administration “this unilateral move could be inflammatory and harmful.”


The Palestinian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned on Monday the approval of the draft resolution, saying it is extremely dangerous and could terminate any opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian state, “geographically connected to its capital, East Jerusalem.”


It noted that the “colonial decision” coincides with a fierce settlement attack on the occupied Palestinian territories, and a real war waged by Israeli forces and settlers to empty Area C of any Palestinian presence.


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