Mon, 09 Dec 2019

Netanyahu Celebrates US Settlement Decision in West Bank

Voice of America
20 Nov 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

ALON SHVUT, WEST BANK - Israel's prime minister traveled to the West Bank on Tuesday to celebrate the U.S.'s announcement that it does not consider Israeli settlements to violate international law.

Benjamin Netanyahu called the Trump administration's declaration, which stepped back from four decades of U.S. policy and reversed the policies of President Barack Obama, a "huge achievement" that "fixed a historic wrong."

"I think it is a great day for the state of Israel and an achievement that will remain for decades," he said.

Israeli Parliament Legalizes 4,000 Jewish Settlements on Private Palestinian Land Israel's parliament has passed a new law on settlements which is sure to be challenged in court and bring global wrath against Israel.The Knesset voted 60-52 Monday night to retroactively legalize 4,000 Jewish settlements on private Palestinian land in the West Bank - land Palestinians want for a future state.Israeli lawmakers on the right and left emotionally debated the controversial measure.

Netanyahu spoke Tuesday at a gathering of ecstatic supporters and settler leaders in Alon Shvut, a settlement outside of Jerusalem.

Israeli right-wing leaders welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement. Although it is largely symbolic, it fueled calls from settler supporters for increased construction or even the annexation of parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinians, who claim the West Bank as part of a future state, condemned the decision. They and other countries said the move undercuts any chances of a broader peace deal.

Israeli Monitor: Jewish Settlements Grew Under Trump Presidency West Bank settlement construction surged during the first year of the Trump presidency, an Israeli monitoring group said Sunday, releasing data that added to Palestinian mistrust of the American administration. Peace Now said that Israel began construction of 2,783 settlement homes in 2017. That was about 17 percent higher than the annual average since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in 2009. It said that 78 percent of the new homes were in outlying settlements that would likely have...

Over 400,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 settlers in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian's hoped-for capital.

The Palestinians and the international community say that settlements are illegal and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. Israel says the fate of the settlements should be determined in negotiations.

The head of the Arab League joined the large number of critics, condemning the Trump administration's latest decision "in the strongest terms."

West Bank Jewish Settlements Pose Obstacle to Peace, Political Dilemma for Israel Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank - home to about 300,000 Israelis - are a crucial issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and one that threatens to derail prospects for peace. U.S. President Barack Obama, in his speech to the Muslim world this month, called for a freeze on all settlement activity. Washington has said in no uncertain terms that Israel's expansion of existing settlements must stop. Israeli compliance with the U.S. demand will not come easily.Yitzhar, a hilltop community...

The league's secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said the decision would result in "more violence and cruelty" against the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli settlers and "undermines any possibility" of achieving peace.

The White House says it has developed a Mideast peace plan, but it has not yet unveiled it. The Palestinians already have rejected the plan, accusing the U.S. of unfair bias in favor of Israel.

The Trump administration has made a number of moves in favor of Israel, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights and shuttering the Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington.

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