News ID: 167888
Published: 0731 GMT August 30, 2016

UN criticizes Israel settlement activities

UN criticizes Israel settlement activities

Israeli settlement expansion has surged in the two months since the diplomatic Quartet called for a halt to the construction of Israeli outposts on Palestinian land, the UN envoy said.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council that the Quartet’s appeal for Israel to stop building in settlements had fallen on deaf ears, AFP reported.

“Its recommendations continue to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions,” Mladenov said.

In July, in a much-awaited report, the Quartet on the Middle East — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — had urged Israel to stop building settlements, saying the settlement expansion, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the expropriation of land were “steadily eroding the viability” of a solution to their conflict.      

Since July 1, Israel has advanced plans for over 1,000 settler units in occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas and 735 units in the West Bank, Mladenov said.

Israel has undertaken a land survey on the outskirts of Bethlehem for the establishment of a new settlement in a move that would contribute to the “dismemberment of the southern West Bank,” said Mladenov.

Mladenov also charges that demolitions of Palestinian homes are on the rise in the West Bank, with over 130 structures destroyed.

“All of these plans would essentially create new illegal settlements and I call on Israel to cease and reverse these decisions,” he said.


Nine more demolitions


On Tuesday, Israeli military forces demolished nine Palestinian houses and structures in separate parts of the occupied West Bank as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its aggressive policies against Palestinians.

Early on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers destroyed the family home of a Palestinian prisoner over his alleged role in a July 1 shooting attack near the illegal Otniel settlement south of Al-Khalil (Hebron), which killed Rabbi Michael Mark and injured his family members.

Witnesses said a large number of Israeli troopers surrounded the house of the Palestinian prisoner, Mohammed Abdulmajdi Abriwash, in the town of Dura, located 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) southwest of Al-Khalil, amid clashes with dozens of stone-throwing young Palestinian men, Press TV quoted Arabic-language Safa news agency as reporting.

Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters as well as stun grenades to disperse the protesting crowd.

The witnesses added that Israeli bulldozers tore down the walls of the building, before soldiers drilled holes in the remaining walls to plant explosives and detonate them.

The development came nearly a day after Israeli forces brought down eight Palestinian structures in the Bedouin community of Maazi Jaba in the so-called E1 zone of West Bank.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under the international law. Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop the settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on August 12 that a total of 726 Palestinian structures had been razed in the occupied West Bank and East Beit-ul-Moqaddas since January, and the demolitions have affected 1,020 Palestinians.

The structures included houses, shelters for livestock and installations such as solar panels.

The world body said there were 533 demolitions and 688 displaced Palestinians in the entire 2015.



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