Palestine calls Israeli settlement activity ‘blatant challenge’

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has said that escalating Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories was “a blatant challenge to the international will for peace”.

The Israeli continuation of settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories “is a public disregard to the world’s states and their positions that condemn settlement,” the Ministry said in a statement sent to Xinhua news agency on Monday.

“Such a situation urges the international community to take a serious pause to force the occupying state to retreat from implementing its plans which contradict international law and resolutions,” it added.

The Ministry also warned of Israel’s settlement plans in Jerusalem, noting the plans aim at annexing the entire city and shutting the window of any opportunity of establishing a viable Palestinian state.

The Palestinians want the eastern part of Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, to be the capital of their future independent state, while Israelis insist that Jerusalem is the undivided eternal capital of Israel.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli media reported that the District Planning and Building Committee announced a plan to build 9,000 housing units in the settlement of Atarot in East Jerusalem.

According to the Palestine Liberation Organization, about 124 Israeli settlement outposts have been built in the West Bank since the 1990s without any official Israeli approval.

Palestinian rights groups said about 700,000 settlers have been living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967.

The Israeli settlements built on the Palestinian territories are regarded as illegal by the international community.

However in 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer considered Israeli settlements as inconsistent with international law.