Israeli PM Says No Withdrawal From Illegal Settlements

Israeli PM Says No Withdrawal From Illegal SettlementsIsraeli PM Says No Withdrawal From Illegal Settlements

Israel’s prime minister says he will never uproot any West Bank settlement —remarks that infuriate the Palestinians at a time when the United States is trying to revive peace talks.

Benjamin Netanyahu said during a ceremony in the settlement of Barkan on Monday night that Israel has returned to the land of the Jewish forefathers “for good”, AP reported.

He says there “will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel.”

The United Nations has denounced Israeli initiatives to accelerate settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory, stressing that “unilateral actions” are an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution.

“For the secretary-general there is no plan B for the two-state solution,” UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in January, one month after the  the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Israel halt its settlement expansion.

Netanyahu’s comments came days after White House adviser Jared Kushner met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank as part of a future independent state and say all settlements are illegal.

Palestinian president’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh denounced Netanyahu’s statement and called on the US “to deal with these provocations.”

Israel annexed East Beit-ul-Moqaddas and parts of the West Bank in the 1967 war, a move which has never been recognized by the international community.

It is believed around 500,000 Israelis now live in settlements.

Netanyahu’s government recently announced more than 11,000 new settler homes in the West Bank, as well as the retroactive legalization of 4,000 “outpost” Jewish homes built on private Palestinian land —bold moves believed to have been encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory.  

During his campaign, Trump had said the Israeli government should “keep going” with the construction of new settlements. He walked back some of that language during a February visit to Washington by Netanyahu, when he told the visiting prime minister in front of reporters that “I would like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

The Trump administration has also suggested several times that the president is open to the idea of a one-state, rather than two-state, solution to the intractable conflict.


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