Israel pushes ahead with plans for 3000 settlement homes

Jun 10, 2017, 17:03
Israel pushes ahead with plans for 3000 settlement homes

"When asked about the impact the planned construction of additional housing units on the occupied Palestinian lands could have on the stuttering Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Anat Ben Nun said that it means that the Israeli government "has no goodwill or intention to arrive at a negotiated two-state solution".

"We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time", Mustafa said in an interview with Bloomberg.

He said that the Palestinian leadership agrees that "it's better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver" than to dig in on the settlement freeze.

The latest developments come days after a visit by Trump to the occupied territories.

Even if Trump can get the two sides back to the negotiating table, the differences between them on core issues such as borders, Jerusalem and refugees are vast.

Mustafa, chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, told Bloomberg that high levels of unemployment and worldwide donors' failure to provide promised aid are among the reasons Abbas is willing to sit at the negotiating table. Trump last week signed a waiver pushing off any move for another six months. Shtayyeh helped lead the Palestinian team at the talks, which took place in Washington, Israel and the West Bank.

He said that even though any final solution to the problem can hardly be expected now, the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank would prevent such a solution in the future. Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month West Bank freeze in 2009 but it largely failed to get talks off the ground, and building later resumed.

There have been various attempts at peace talks but they stopped in 2004.

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These were the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset event this week marking 50 years of Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian territories in which he vowed to strengthen Israel's "settlement enterprise". Israel has also maintained an illegal air, sea and land blockade of the Gaza Strip for almost ten years, locking two million people into an area that is one of the most densely-populated territories on Earth.

The plans are at various stages in the process and the units are in a number of settlements across the West Bank.

"We don't want to be tricked with small, not-so-meaningful steps", Mustafa said of the gestures.

The project, an initiative of the US-based Middle East Forum (MEF) think tank, proposes a fresh approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land do not just amount to war crimes under global law, they violate fundamental principles of worldwide law triggering additional responsibilities among all states.

One Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli security forces on Friday, amid clashes between the Israeli Defense Forces and demonstrators on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, said the health ministry of the Islamist movement Hamas which runs the territory.

More than 3,000 units have been advanced this week, a spokesman for the NGO that tracks settlement building in the Palestinian territory told AFP.

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