[QODLink]
Middle East

Palestine decries Israel's new outposts plan

Palestinian PM says plans for more than 1,000 new houses in occupied West Bank are 'killing two-state solution'.

Last Modified: 13 Jun 2013 13:39
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Palestinian government says a freeze on all settlement activity is necessary before talks can begin [Reuters]

An Israeli settlement push in the occupied West Bank, involving the building of 1,000 new homes in two new settlements, is "killing the two state solution", Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has said.

Hamdallah was speaking to the Reuters news agency on Thursday in response to news of the proposed housing projects.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli setttlers' council asked Israeli zoning authorities in the occupied territory to approve the building of 550 housing units in Bruchin, an unauthorised outpost granted legal status by Israel last year.

The extent of Bruchin's expansion, where some 350 settlers live, had not been disclosed previously.

The officials said zoning authorities also received a plan from the council for the construction of 537 dwellings in the settlement of Itamar, along with the retroactive approval of 130 homes built there without permits.

The Itamar building proposal was announced in 2012 and approved by then-Defence Minister Ehud Barak, after an Israeli couple and three of their children were killed in the settlement by two Palestinians in 2011.

Continued Israeli settlement expansion on occupied land that the Palestinians say must be part of any future Palestinian state has been the main stumbling in negotiations between the two sides.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has been making a push in recent months towards restarting negotiations, but settlement expansion has also scuppered those attempts so far.

"The international community must take action before this solution dies," PM Hamdallah said in response to the latest settlement move.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has said that talks with the Israelis can only resume after a total freeze on settlement construction, which Palestinians see as expanding Israeli claims to land ahead of the possible drawing up of borders.

Israel and the United States have urged Abbas to return to the negotiations without preconditions.

Opponents of the two construction plans now have two months in which to lodge objections against them. Further authorisation by the current defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, is required before building permits can be issued.

Hagit Ofran, from the anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now, estimated that construction could begin in about a year, if approved.

Some 500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured along with the Gaza Strip in the 1967 conflict. About 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

393

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
Ivory Coast tackles internet fraud scourge, but analysts say criminals continue to outsmart authorities.
In US study, MIT scientists changed the emotions linked to specific memories in mice.
The seizure of the Tabqa airbase highlights the Islamic State's consolidation of power in eastern Syria, analysts say.
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
join our mailing list