Palestinian fury after Israel backs new settlement

Palestinian officials have condemned the move and called on the global community to intervene.

France and the United Nations also spoke out against the Israeli Security Cabinet's decision to approve a new settlement on Thursday night, which came right in the midst of a renewed U.S. push to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For the last seven years the Palestinians have demanded that Israel freeze all settlement activity, including Jewish building in east Jerusalem, as a precondition to diplomatic talks.

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump said in February that he would like to see Israel "hold back on settlements a little bit".

"The Israeli prime minister made a commitment to the Amona settlers prior to President Trump laying out his expectations [for an eventual peace settlement]", the newspaper quoted an unnamed USA official as saying.

The resolution condemned Israel's settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, saying they had "no legal validity". The European Union calls on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts erected since March 2001 in line with prior obligations. About 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank which is also home to 2.8 million Palestinians.

"He [Guterres] condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution", he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under pressure at home to uphold his promise to the 40 families evicted from Amona to resettle them on an alternative parcel of land in the West Bank.

The decision was made as a gesture to the Trump administration, which is hoping to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu told ministers to take Trump's position "into consideration" and said construction will be limited to settlement boundaries with no new outposts allowed.

Talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, who have been in conflict for decades, have been effectively shelved in recent years.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the move showed that the government was pushing ahead with "their systematic policies of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights". That illegal settlement was destroyed in February after a court found it was built on privately owned Palestinian land. Much of the global community views Israeli settlements as illegal.

The "rules" were worked out over the past several weeks, after US envoy Jason Greenblatt discussed the matter with Israeli officials in Washington after he visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The "Amman Declaration" asserted the Arabs adherence to a two-state solution, which may be hindered by the constant attempts of Israel to expand in building new settlements within the Palestinian territories.

  • Zachary Reyes