top of page

Israel to Ease Process for Expanding West Bank Settlements

teleSUR/ JF

Jun 19, 2023

Rubble from a school destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces, West Bank, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @PetraSchur

During a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Israeli government authorized pro-settlement Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to assume main responsibility for settlement planning and construction in the West Bank, and shortened political approval process for settlement planning and construction that had been in place for 25 years.

The Palestinian presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Palestine rejects the Israeli government's decision to accelerate settlement construction.

The Palestinian leadership also rejects the Israeli government's authorization of Smotrich to be in charge of making decision for settlement planning and construction, stressing that all settlements are "illegal" and "Israel has violated international laws and signed agreements."

"Every construction on the occupied territories is illegal, rejected, and will be legally pursued everywhere. Israel is playing with fire, whether in the Jerusalem or settlement issues, despite fully aware that these are Palestinian, Arab, and international red lines," Abu Rudeineh said, adding that "such a behavior will lead to more tension on the ground."

Abu Rudeineh held the U.S. responsible for allowing Israel "to cross the red lines," adding that "Israel cannot set up a single stone without an American decision."

Israel took control of the West Bank in 1967 and established dozens of settlements there, which are considered as violations of international law.

The settlement issue is one of the most prominent aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and one of the main reasons for halting the previous round of U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the two sides in 2014.

On Sunday, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said that "the settlement expansion projects will not give the occupation legitimacy on our land and that our people will resist them with all available means."

Hamas called on the international community and the United Nations "to take serious and urgent steps to stop these projects that will bring more escalation in the region and threaten peace and security."

Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokespersonTariq Selmi warned Israel of the consequences of the decision "which will be confronted with more Palestinian resistance and steadfastness."

bottom of page