Palestine slams new Israeli settlement project

Palestine on Tuesday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of building 3,500 new settlement units in the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said that Netanyahu is pushing matters into an abyss, said a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

“This decision is the result of the biased and dangerous U.S. policy in favor of the Israeli occupation, which led to a situation that violates international law, transgresses the red lines, and contradicts with UN resolutions on settlements,” said the statement.

“Netanyahu’s decision challenges the statement that was passed unanimously on Monday by the UN Security Council to refrain from undermining viability of two-state solution,” Abu Rudeinah was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat said that Netanyahu is sending a message to the international community that Israel could not care less about the statement passed by the UN Security Council.

“We have reiterated our calls for concrete measures to be taken in order to save the prospects of a just and lasting peace, based on international law,” Erekat said in a statement.

The latest Israeli plan will see the expansion of Maaleh Adumim settlement, in a project known as the E-1, which would eventually cut off access between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian experts.

The E-1 project was frozen by Israel since 2012 under international pressures and objections by world powers including the United States and the European Union.

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, said that the Israeli move “deals a final and decisive blow to the practicability of the two-state formula and leaves no room for doubt about Israel’s agenda for permanent occupation.”

“Since the announcement of the Trump-Netanyahu ‘plan,’ the Israeli government has announced plans to construct nearly 15, 000 new illegal settlement units and other buildings,” Ashrawi said in a statement.

“These announcements specifically target areas in and around occupied Jerusalem. They effectively and practically encircle the occupied capital and carve it out of the occupied Palestinian territory while dividing the rest of the West Bank into two separate parts,” she added.

Netanyahu’s announcement comes six days ahead of the Israeli election, a move seen by many as an attempt to garner support from the right-wing supporters.