posted June 7, 2012 by Al-Manar
The Israeli occupation had announced plans on Wednesday to build 851 new homes for settlers in the occupied West Bank after parliament defeated a bill to sanction all settler apartments on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Palestinians insist Israeli settlements, built on land Israel captured in a 1967 war, will deny them a viable state, and they refuse to return to peace talks frozen since 2010 until their expansion is halted, according to Ma’an news agency.
Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Atias announced the plan to build 551 housing units in various settlements across the West Bank and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier said 300 new apartments would be constructed in the settlement of Beit El.
Atias said 117 housing units would be built in Ariel, 92 in Maale Adumim, 144 in Adam, 114 in Efrat and 84 in Kiryat Arba settlements.
Netanyahu won a parliamentary battle against an attempt by far-right lawmakers to sanction all settler homes on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and pledged to abide by a Supreme Court ruling and remove five settler apartment houses on Palestinian land in the settlement of Beit El.
But when the right-wing leader announced that his government would have to abide by the court ruling he added that the 30 families living in the apartments that would have to be removed would remain in Beit El “and 300 more families will join them.”
The UN World Court considers the settlements illegal.
Netanyahu’s announcement drew a reaction from US State Department spokesman Mark Toner who said the United States was aware of the announcement to build 300 new homes. “We are very clear that continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank undermines peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations,” Toner said.