Monday, 22 August 2016
Israel plans to expand new settler units in West Bank
The Israeli regime authorities have granted preliminary permission for the planning of new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank in defiance of international calls to end such unauthorized activities in the Palestinian territories.
COGAT, an Israeli military body, confirmed on Monday that permission had been given for planning new units for settlers in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
Hagit Ofran of Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now group said that the land was taken from the Palestinian-run municipality for military use and will be converted to residential application.
According to Israeli media reports, the expansion is still in early stages of planning and has yet to pass through administrative stages ahead of construction.
About 1,000 settlers live in al-Khalil among Palestinians behind barbed-wire, observation towers, heavily fortified enclaves and under Israeli army protection.
On June 16, the Israeli regime approved USD 18 million in extra funding for the illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories.
The funds were allocated by the cabinet for settlement-related spending in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli media outlets said the sum is to supplement a budget of about USD 88 million agreed upon last year.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law. Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop the settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
A recent report by the Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union – called on the Israeli regime to halt its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying the settlement expansion, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the expropriation of land were “steadily eroding the viability” of a solution to their conflict.
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