The Gaza Post | The News of Palestine – West Bank
After Israel approved the construction of its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in decades, The United Nations has lambasted the Israeli government as the UN Chief calls the process an ” obstacle to peace.”
A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the secretary-general expressed “disappointment and alarm” at the Israeli security cabinet’s decision on Thursday to build a new settlement – considered illegal under international law – on land stolen from the Palestinians.
“The secretary-general has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Friday.
“He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, which threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution.”
The decision to built a new settlement in Emek Shilo, close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, came less than a week after the UN criticized Israel for not taking any steps to halt construction on occupied Palestinian territory, as demanded by the Security Council in a resolution it passed in December.
Settlements are seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
The Israeli government’s move also drew instant condemnation by Palestinian leaders, international rights groups and activists.
Israel “continues to destroy the prospects of peace”, said Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, who also criticised the UN, European Union and United States for not doing enough to punish Israel for continuing to expand settlements in the West Bank.
“Peace is not going to be achieved by tolerating such crimes,” he said.
Yousef Mahmoud, a Palestinian government spokesman, said in a statement that “this new escalation reveals the persistence of the occupation government to continue opposing and obstructing all efforts exerted to resume the peace process”.
International human rights group Amnesty International also condemned the decision, saying “all settlement activity … constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime”.
In a statement on Friday, Trump’s administration refrained from criticising Israel’s move, saying that “while the existence of settlements is not in itself an impediment to peace, further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace”.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised to build a new colony for its residents after their eviction. However, Al Jazeera’s Khan said the cabinet’s decision came as Netanyahu faced growing pressure in the Knesset and the threat of early elections.
Source: Al Jazeera News