Palestinian official slams Israeli settlement activities

A Palestinian official has warned that the ongoing Israeli settlement activities in West Bank would foil the choice of a two-state solution.

Walid Assaf, head of the National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, said in a statement on Monday that “Israel would thwart the two-state solution and end the peace process by expanding settlements in the West Bank”, reports Xinhua news agency

He added that Israel plans to build a new settlement project west of the West Bank city of Salfi “to divide the West Bank into cantons that end the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state”.

Al-Raas area west of the city of Salfit witnesses weekly Palestinian protests and confrontations with the Israeli army forces.

The demonstrators say they want to reach their lands that Israel is planning to confiscate in the area.

According to the latest developments, Israeli authorities on December 13 announced a tender for 290 housing units in the settlement of Gilo in East Jerusalem.

On December 16, the Israeli Knesset or Parliament advanced, in a preliminary vote, a bill that sets a two-year timeframe for the legalisation of 65 outposts and mandates that they should be treated as authorized settlements in the interim, with their residents receiving all municipal services.

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.