cloudy.png
Saturday July 2nd, 2022 8:05AM

Rights group: Israel approves over 4,000 new settler homes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel advanced plans for the construction of more than 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, a rights group said, a day after the military demolished homes in an area where hundreds of Palestinians face the threat of expulsion.

It was a jolting illustration of Israel's policies in the territory it has occupied for nearly 55 years. Critics, including three major human rights groups, say those policies amount to apartheid, a charge Israel rejects as an attack on its very legitimacy.

Hagit Ofran, an expert at the anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now, told The Associated Press that a military planning body approved 4,427 housing units at a meeting on Thursday that she attended. “The state of Israel took another stumble toward the abyss and further deepened the occupation,” she tweeted.

Spokespeople for the Israeli government and the military body in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank did not respond to requests for comment.

It's the biggest advancement of settlement projects since the Biden administration took office. The White House opposes settlement construction and views it as an obstacle to any eventual peace agreement with the Palestinians.

There was no immediate comment from the administration on Thursday's decision. But last week, when the first reports emerged of the impending settlement approval, State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter reiterated that the U.S. “strongly” opposes settlement expansion.

Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal and supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But neither the United States nor other world powers have given Israel — the stronger party — any incentive to accede to such an arrangement. Israel says Palestinian leaders have rejected proposals by previous governments that would have given them a state.

Israel views the West Bank as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who once led the main settler organization, is opposed to Palestinian statehood, but his government has taken steps to improve economic conditions for Palestinians.

Israel approved some 3,000 settler homes in October, brushing aside a rebuke from the U.S., its closest ally. Peace talks with the Palestinians broke down more than a decade ago, in part because of Israel's continuing construction on lands the Palestinians want for a future state.

On Wednesday, Israeli troops demolished at least 18 buildings and structures in the West Bank following a Supreme Court decision that would force at least 1,000 Palestinians out of an area Israel designated as a firing zone in the early 1980s.

B’Tselem, another Israeli rights group, said 12 residential buildings were among the structures that were demolished, in villages in the arid hills south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

Residents of the Masafer Yatta say they have been living in the region, herding animals and practicing traditional desert agriculture for decades, long before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war. The Supreme Court sided with the military, which says there were no permanent structures in the area before it was designated a training zone.

“What’s happening now is ethnic cleansing," Sami Huraini, an activist and a resident of the area, told the AP. “They are trying to expel the people from this land, saying they never lived here permanently, which is a lie.”

He said residents of the area where the demolitions were carried out are determined to remain there. “The people are staying on their land and have already started to rebuild," he said.

The military declined to comment on the demolitions.

Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994, condemned both the settlement expansion and the forced displacement of Palestinians, calling it a “a flagrant violation of international law.”

Israel has built more than 130 settlements across the West Bank that today are home to nearly 500,000 settlers, who have Israeli citizenship. Nearly 3 million Palestinians live in the territory under open-ended Israeli military rule. The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule over parts of the West Bank and cooperates with Israel on security matters.

The Palestinians want the West Bank to form the main part of a future state, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza, all territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally, and Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized power there in 2007.

The Palestinians view the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem as a major obstacle to any future peace deal because they reduce and divide up the land on which such a state would be established.

___

Associated Press writer Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Report criticizes meat industry, USDA response to pandemic
A new Congressional report says that at the height of the pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off health restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly among workers
10:02AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Astronomers capture 1st image of Milky Way's huge black hole
Astronomers have unveiled the first wild but fuzzy image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy
9:57AM ( 10 minutes ago )
US stocks open lower as inflation remains stubbornly high
Stocks are off to another weak start on Wall Street Thursday as more declines in big technology companies weighed on the broader market
9:48AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Palestinians mourn slain Al Jazeera journalist, blame Israel
Thousands have gathered to mourn a slain Al Jazeera journalist in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah
9:04AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden co-hosts 2nd global COVID summit as US nears 1M deaths
President Joe Biden will appeal for a renewed international commitment to attacking COVID-19 as the second global pandemic summit opens
8:58AM ( 1 hour ago )
Alabama shipwreck holds key for kin of enslaved Africans
A crew working on the Alabama coast is assessing the remains of the last slave ship known to have landed in the United States, more than 160 years ago
8:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Russia hits Ukraine’s east as Finland moves toward NATO bid
Russia pounded areas in Ukraine’s east, including the last pocket of resistance in besieged Mariupol, as the war pushed Finland closer to seeking NATO membership
6:45AM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden hosts ASEAN as he looks to show Pacific commitment
President Joe Biden is hosting leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as his administration continues an effort to demonstrate that the United States hasn’t lost focus on the Pacific
6:36AM ( 3 hours ago )
FIFA takes on EA Sports video game in soccer's new rivalry
The name “FIFA” can bring to mind images of the World Cup and soccer’s greatest players
6:27AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Report criticizes meat industry, USDA response to pandemic
A new Congressional report says that at the height of the pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off health restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly among workers
10:02AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Astronomers capture 1st image of Milky Way's huge black hole
Astronomers have unveiled the first wild but fuzzy image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy
9:57AM ( 10 minutes ago )
US stocks open lower as inflation remains stubbornly high
Stocks are off to another weak start on Wall Street Thursday as more declines in big technology companies weighed on the broader market
9:48AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Biden urges world to renew COVID fight as US nears 1M deaths
President Joe Biden has appealed to world leaders for a renewed international commitment to attacking COVID-19 as he leads the U.S. in marking the approaching “tragic milestone” of 1 million deaths at home from the virus
9:44AM ( 24 minutes ago )
South African firm says it may close its COVID vaccine plant
The first factory to produce COVID-19 vaccines in Africa has announced that it has not received enough orders and is planning to stop production within a few weeks, in what a senior World Health Organization official described as a “failure” in efforts to achieve vaccine equity
9:44AM ( 24 minutes ago )