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Palestine: US Position Against Settlements is Insufficient

Palestine: US Position Against Settlements is Insufficient

Sunday, 8 May, 2022 - 09:00
Palestinians carry an injured person during clashes with Israeli soldiers near Jenin in the West Bank (AP)

Palestine has welcomed the position of the US administration's opposition to settlement establishment in the West Bank, but said it was not enough, demanding real pressure to stop all Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories.

Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Minister Hussein al-Sheikh welcomed the US State Department's rejection of Israeli settlement expansion and the construction of new units in the West Bank.

He also lauded the position of the US ambassador to Israel on the matter.

"We hope that this position will turn into serious pressure to stop all Israeli escalatory measures that destroy the very foundation of the two-state solution," said Sheikh.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also welcomed the US position but said it was insufficient and did not rise to the level of the settlement crime.

Israeli authorities approved the establishment of 4,000 new settlement units in the West Bank, which will require the demolition of 12 villages in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron Governorate, and the seizure of 22,000 dunams in the Jordan Valley.

"These plans are a flagrant violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions, a coup against signed agreements. [They] inflame tension and undermine trust and the two-state solution," the ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry said the Israeli government is fully and directly responsible for these expansionist colonial plans and their impact on achieving peace, noting that they are considered a war crime and a crime against humanity.

The US State Department rejected Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and said it damages the prospects of a two-state solution.

In a telephone briefing, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter said that the Biden administration has been clear from the outset.

"We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements which exacerbates tensions and undermines trust between the parties. Israel's program of expanding settlements deeply damages the prospect for a two-state solution."

The Israeli announcement came when arrangements were made for Biden's visit to the region.

Israeli media said that the US urged Tel Aviv to refrain from taking unilateral steps, including pushing for settlement projects, before Biden's visit.

Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said the Israeli plan "amounts to forced displacement and ethnic cleansing, in violation of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions."

He warned that it is "dangerous, condemned and rejected," and "all of the Israeli demolitions, evictions, and settlements fall within the framework of the apartheid regime that the occupation applies to the Palestinians and their lands amid international silence."

The PA official stressed that "this will have serious consequences on the ground," attributing full responsibility for the consequences to the Israeli government.

PM Mohammad Shtayyeh also warned of the "serious consequences" that would result from the approval of the plan, saying it constitutes a "threat to security and peace in the region, which is in a state of tension due to the policies and practices of persecution, racism and ethnic cleansing pursued by the occupation government against the Palestinian people."

He too called on the US administration "to intervene urgently to stop these violations."

Hamas also pledged to confront Israeli decisions with "more steadfastness and comprehensive confrontation."

The Arab League warned of the repercussions of the Israeli occupation government's approval to construct 4,000 new settlement units, saying they impact international security and stability.

The General Secretariat stressed that these plans are discriminatory and are added to a long series of Israeli crimes amid international silence.

The statement described the settlement plans as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the provisions of international law, stressing the need to implement international legitimacy resolutions, provide international protection for the Palestinian people, and end the occupation.

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