Sunday , April 2 2023

No freeze in settlement construction in West Bank: Netanyahu


JERUSALEM: Barely hours after Jordan hosted a meeting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the Red Sea city of Aqaba, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the building of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will continue to go ahead.

Sunday’s meeting, which was also attended by Egypt and the United States, was called in order to discuss steps to de-escalate tensions amid surging violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Jordanian foreign ministry published the closing statement of the Aqaba summit, saying: “The Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority confirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months.”

“This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months,” it added.

​​The participants agreed to meet again in Egypt’s resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh next month for further talks.

However, after the statement was announced, Netanyahu tweeted that there “will not be any freeze” with regards to settlement construction.

“The building and authorization in Judea and Samaria will continue according to the original planning and building schedule, with no change,” he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

Under international law, settlements built in occupied territories are considered illegal.

A number of top ministers in Israel also confirmed that the Israeli government will not temporarily halt the announcement of new illegal settlement units.

In a statement on Sunday night, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, who headed the Israeli delegation at the summit, said that Israel will authorize nine settlement outposts in the coming months and will approve 9,500 settlement units in the occupied West Bank.

“Contrary to reports and tweets about the meeting in Jordan, there is no change in Israeli policy,” Hanegbi said.

“There is no settlement construction freeze or change in the status quo on the Temple Mount, neither is there any restriction on IDF activity,” he continued, referring to the Israeli army. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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