PLO censures Israel plans to build nearly 4,000 settler units in West Bank

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A picture taken on September 10, 2017 from the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds shows the Israeli settlement of Nof Zion in the foreground, and the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds with the Dome of the Rock in the background. (Photo by AFP)

A picture taken on September 10, 2017 from the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds shows the Israeli settlement of Nof Zion in the foreground, and the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds with the Dome of the Rock in the background. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has strongly condemned Israel’s plans to construct nearly 4,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank irrespective of the international outcry against the Israeli regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in Palestinian territories.

“We strongly condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval of the construction of 3,829 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said during a meeting with the visiting Norwegian politician, Hilde Haraldstad, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.

She added, “Clearly, Israel is bent on entrenching the military occupation and its illegal settlement enterprise, further reaffirming its intentions of displacing Palestine and replacing it with the ‘Greater Israel’.”

The senior PLO official further urged the international community to hold Israel accountable for acting outside the law before it shatters the prospects of a viable Palestinian state.

“It is vital that European countries exhibit the political will necessary to take decisive action to end the occupation and to remove all of its manifestations from Palestinian soil,” Ashrawi pointed out.

Since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Construction workers build new houses in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, east of the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on August 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

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