Israel approves first West Bank settlement in 25 years

According to Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump accepted Netanyahu's rationale for approving a new West Bank settlement to accommodate those evicted from Amona.

The new settlement, which will be constructed north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, is intended for Israeli settlers evacuated from Amona, an outpost destroyed by Israeli authorities in February because it was not sanctioned.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry described the move as "unacceptable" and said it violated Palestinians' rights, U.N. Security Council resolutions and the will of the global community.

The move comes after last month US President Donald Trump, who had been viewed supportive of settlements, told Netanyahu at the White House to "hold back on settlements for a little bit" in order to open space for renewed peace talks.

Netanyahu told ministers to take Trump's position "into consideration", calling for restraint to be shown and the expansion of territory for construction of settlements to be limited to developed lines in existing settlements in the West Bank, "allowing for progress in the peace process".

The worldwide community regards all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been in discussions with the Trump administration on how to move ahead with further settlement construction.

The White House was informed in advance about the planned announcement of a new settlement as well as the Israeli policy shift and raised no objections, a person close to the matter said, signaling possible coordination between the two governments.

This means Israel should restrict the construction to only building within existing settlements or on land directly next to them.

Previous administrations viewed the settlements as an obstacle to peace, and the Palestinians and much of the world consider them a violation of worldwide law.

Turkey condemned the decision.

Since the January inauguration of Trump, the Tel Aviv regime has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of worldwide law. The settlement announcement "is a grave violation" and a "very big and unsafe step", he said.

Israeli negotiators said last week that they would take into account the Trump administration's "concerns" about settlement building. "He was not in any way suggesting, at least in his conversation with me, a one-state solution", Dershowitz said.

Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing Israel's more than 120 West Bank settlements, welcomed the new settlement.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The former USA administration of Barack Obama was deeply opposed to Israel's expansion of the settlements and in December withheld its veto from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the policy.

Sweden's U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog, a member of the Security Council, said on Friday that the 15-member Security Council should respond to the latest announcement by Israel on settlements.

  • Leroy Wright