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Israeli right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have approved a new building program of Jewish settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territories, the West Bank area, on the heels of the swearing-in of  U.S. President Donald Trump.

The announcement of 2,500 new housing units is one of the largest in years, marking a comprehensive rejection of December’s UN security council resolution which described settlement building as a flagrant violation of international law and an obstacle to peace; and increases tensions with Palestinians and the wider Middle East, already high over the Trump administration’s proposal to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, Palestinian President Abbas’s spokesman, said the move would hinder any attempt to restore security, reinforce extremism and obstacle the path to peace. According to him Israel is exploiting the US administration to escalate its violations and prevent the existence of a Palestinian State. The EU countries denounced the new units as well, while the US remained silent in front of the approval.

Settlement construction has been a contentious area of disagreement during the Obama years, when the White House condemned it as an obstacle to peace, but Trump has signalled a softer approach closer to Israeli settlers’ plans during the electoral campaign. While now he is playing vague, Netanyahu is under pressure from all the internal and external political sides.      


The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

(source: The Guardian)