Israel's Security Cabinet approves new W. Bank settlement, the first in decades

Ashrawi called on the global community to hold Israel responsible for the expansion of West Bank settlements.

There are 126 Israeli settlements in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), according to the September 2016 report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

The new settlement was already on track to be approved "before the President had a chance to lay out his expectations", said the official, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of peace talks.

"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", Hanan Ashrawi, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. Earlier in February, Trump had said settlement expansion "may not be helpful" in achieving peace.

The new settlement will be used to house Jewish families evicted from Amona, an outpost that was cleared last month after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled it had been built illegally on private Palestinian land. "The United States welcomes this".

Palestinian officials have condemned the move. Established in 2005, BDS was a call made by Palestinian civil society organizations to people worldwide to take part in exposing Israel's crimes and hold accountable its government, army and companies that benefit from subjugating Palestinians. "I believe that I first gave that promise back in December and we will uphold it today", he said during a meeting with Slovak President Andre Kiska.

There was no immediate reaction from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which is in discussions with Israel on limiting the construction of settlements on land Palestinians seek for a state. Trump and Netanyahu agreed to create a mechanism to formulate a coordinated Israeli-US position on settlements.

A series of meetings in Washington on the issue last week followed a trip to the region by Trump's special envoy for global negotiations Jason Greenblatt, in which he met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Construction in recent years has involved expanding existing settlements in the West Bank, with many countries warning it is gradually eating away at any chance of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. An official in the Prime Minister's Office denied that any such terms had been advanced by Greenblatt.

Palestinians on Thursday marked "Land Day", which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces while demonstrating against the seizure of their land in 1976.

All that Israeli leaders needed to do was to adhere to the script: Palestinians are terrorists, we have no peace partner, Israel is a democracy, our wars are all carried out in self-defense and so on.

  • Leroy Wright