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28 February 2020 - 13:36
News ID: 449331
Israel gives the green light for construction of close to 1,800 new settler units in the illegal settlements it has built across the occupied West Bank, in a move apparently aimed at securing votes for scandal-hit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of upcoming elections.

RNA - The High Planning Subcommittee of Israel's so-called Civil Administration issued the approval on Thursday, acting on a proposal by Israel’s minister for military affairs, Naftali Bennett, The Jerusalem Post reported.

He swore he would “not give one inch of land” to the Palestinians, saying, “We authorized many units in the settlements and we will continue to do so in the future.”

Thursday’s session came less than two months after the previous one, “marking an increase in the frequency of the committee’s meetings,” The Times of Israel wrote.

It cited Shabtay Bendet from the Peace Now settlement watchdog as saying it appeared that Netanyahu was trying to court voters in the run-up to the parliamentary polls that have been scheduled for Monday. The elections, the third one to take place in a year, will see Israelis’ deciding whether the premier, who has been indicted in a corruption scandal, should remain in office for a fifth term.

The settler units include 620 ones in the central West Bank settlement of Eli, where the regime’s supreme court would for long disallow serious development owing to repeated petitions lodged by the Palestinians. The court, however, officially sided with the settlers last week.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu also announced that he had ordered the promotion of a plan for some 3,500 homes in the contentious E1 area that is located between East Jerusalem al-Quds in the West Bank and Ma’ale Adumim settlement that effectively bisects the occupied Palestinian territory. Tel Aviv had long stopped short of advancing construction in the area amid widespread international condemnation.

Netanyahu announced last week that he had lifted restrictions on the construction of the controversial Givat Hamatos neighborhood in East al-Quds, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. He said 3,000 settlers units would be built in the area.

The approvals revving up Israel’s construction activities in E1 and Givat Hamatos attracted widespread criticism even among Israel’s close allies in Europe, with German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Irish, Dutch, and British ambassadors to Tel Aviv communicating their objections.

German Ambassador Susanne Wasum-Rainer wrote in a tweet that she and the other envoys had conveyed “their grave concern about announcements of the Israeli authorities regarding new settlement units in the occupied West Bank & East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Israel has become more brazen in its efforts to trample upon Palestinians’ rights since the 2016 election of US President Donald Trump, who has unprecedentedly intensified Washington’s support for the regime.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy occupied city, and announcing a scheme that allows the regime to annex the land on which it has been building the illegal settlements.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

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