Netanyahu vows Israeli squatter settlement expansion in Palestinian E. Jerusalem

Ma’an News | – –

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised his far-right government on Sunday that he would lift all restrictions on settlement construction in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.

Netanyahu’s announcement came as Israel’s Jerusalem municipality approved permits for the construction of at least 566 new illegal Israeli settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, after the plans were said to be put on hold until after US President Donald Trump was sworn in.

A spokesperson for the municipality told Ma’an that the Local Building and Planning Committee in Jerusalem approved the construction of 671 housing units in a number of areas, after their approval was delayed for several weeks.

The spokesperson said that 324 units were approved in the Ramot settlement, 174 units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement, and 68 units in the Pisgat Zeev settlement.

She also listed a number of new construction to be greenlit in various Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, including 49 units in Beit Hanina, 14 units in Wadi Joz, 24 units in Umm Lisun and Umm Tuba, seven units Jabal al-Mukabbir, four units in Beit Safafa, three units in Sur Bahir, and four units in al-Tur.

It remained unclear as of Monday morning whether the newly approved construction in the Palestinian neighborhoods would be for the purpose of Jewish-only settlements. A representative from the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem – (ARIJ) told Ma’an that their organization was investigating the municipality’s approvals.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Netanyahu’s pledge to ramp up East Jerusalem settlement expansion was a major factor in convincing Israeli ministers to hold off from voting on a bill calling for the annexation of the occupied West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim to Israel.

Netanyahu’s pressure on the annexation bill, as well as the retraction of his support for a bill that would retroactively legalize dozens of illegal Israeli settlement outposts, is reported to be the result of pressures from Trump’s newly instated administration.

While Trump is a vocal supporter of Israel and its settlement expansion — a policy which is deemed illegal under international law — the American head of state’s advisers reportedly urged that “no unilateral steps should be taken by Israel” until a meeting was held between Netanyahu and Trump sometime in February.

Netanyahu nonetheless told the Israeli security cabinet that he supported the annexation of Maale Adumim as well as Israeli sovereignty over all other settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, and that he planned to advance settlement building in the West Bank, Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu also proclaimed that he would not be willing to enter negotiations with Palestinians which would grant them an autonomous state, stating that “what I am prepared to give the Palestinians is not exactly a state with every authority but rather a ‘state-minus.’”

His statement reiterating the Israeli government’s refusal to negotiate a proper two-state solution came as Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Thursday for the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, as he announced the disbursement of $7.6 million in aid for Palestinians.

Netanyahu has been widely criticized for publicly claiming to advocate a two-state solution while simultaneously championing settlement policy to appeal to an increasingly right-wing government and Israeli public.

Calls to annex Maale Adumim and to annex a majority of the occupied West Bank have gained momentum among reactionary Israeli lawmakers and ministers following the passage of UN Resolution 2334.

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right, with more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current Israeli government having publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state.

A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

Via Ma’an News Agency


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Press TV: “Israel OKs construction of 600 settler units in Jerusalem Al-Quds”

3 Responses

  1. So what happens ten years from now?

    Everyone in Israel seems focused on the next months with no regard to how all of their actions will turn out after they ignore the probability of massive, negative unintended consequences.

    Why do Israeli think this will turn out OK over the next few decades?

    Given the behavior pattern of humans over the last 50,000 years (as documented in their own religious documents) these actions will turn to ashes over time.

    From a tactical point of view and ignoring the long term consequences, this is a great time to gut-punch the Arabs living west of the Jordan River.

    BUT . . .

    History clearly shows brutally oppressing humans works OK for the short term but is guaranteed to lead to massive retaliation in the long term and while the retaliation can be suppressed for a short period of time, the ONLY thing the short term suppression achieves is making the retaliation more massive and brutal.

    I can not find ANY documentation where the Israel describe how this will turn out in the long term. Probably because their delusions are obvious and confronting the delusions would lead to a terrible reality about the future.

    So help me understand how this is likely to play out over the long term, not just over the next few years. I understand that over the next few years, the USA will let Israel do whatever they want and kill whoever they want, but then what?

    What is the long term?

    • I believe the answer is, the Israeli leadership is sworn to create, by provocation and by shifting regional alignments, the opportunity to carry out a sudden, devastating ethnic cleansing of the Occupied Territories. It may not be possible in reality, but the seductive dream of it keeps the increasingly bigoted Israeli electorate going from month to month.

      To carry out this final solution, Israel would need to nail down all the major actors. Saudi Arabia is clearly open to betraying all Islamic principles now, and its bizarre new neoliberal economic agenda is designed to eliminate its own servant population which includes many Palestinians. Israel must be sure that population will not be allowed to pose a threat. The Israeli-Saudi alliance against Iran seems based on the assumption that it indeed will foment Palestinian uprisings since it surely cannot launch any other useful military action from afar. I doubt the sincerity of this paranoid fantasy, but if it is sincere, then Iran must be crushed before the final cleansing occurs. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that ordinary Iranians and Syrians themselves are willing to abandon the Palestinians to deal with their own problems.

      But now there’s just getting to be too many other actors in the Middle East. Russia and China are muscling their way in, though their own fabulous cynicism means anything could happen. It’s not a slam dunk that anyone will stand in Israel’s way when the Palestinians have so little to bribe anyone with.

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