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The authorisation of the construction of 800 housing units in Palestine by Israel is denounced from all sides.




The authorisation of the construction of 800 housing units in Palestine by Israel is denounced from all sides.
ISRAEL / EGYPT. The Israeli High Planning Council (HPC) approved, Sunday, January 17, 2021, the construction of 781 housing units in settlements located in the Palestinian territories and deemed illegal under international law. 714 units are located in the West Bank in settlements that Israel was to evacuate under the Geneva Initiative (Israeli-Palestinian peace plan of December 2003).

Taking place in the middle of the electoral campaign for the legislative elections to be held in March 2021, this decision is denounced by Peace Now. The NGO regrets that "by promoting hundreds of housing units for settlers, Mr. Netanyahu is once again putting his personal interests ahead of those of the State". According to Peace Now, "this settlement activity will not only reduce the possibility of resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, but it will also unnecessarily bring Israel into conflict with the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden".

The Israeli Prime Minister was widely supported by Donald Trump. The future past-president had entrusted his son-in-law Jared Kushner with the task of drawing up a peace plan for the Middle East. This document, presented in January 2020, giving pride of place to Israel, was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and many countries. The United States decided to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and then confirmed the legality of the settlements in Palestine and the sovereignty of Israel on the Syrian Golan Heights through the voice of Mike Pompeo, head of American diplomacy.

For Egypt, this decision undermines the two-state solution

The Egyptian government has also expressed its disapproval. A communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that "this decision is a new form of violation of decisions of international legitimacy, which undermines the possibility of achieving the two-state solution".

Since 2014, the peace process has been blocked between Israelis and Palestinians, precisely because of Israel's refusal to stop settlement activities in the occupied territories and to accept the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Cairo "totally rejects the continuation of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, namely in East Jerusalem" and "calls in the same context for the immediate cessation of unjust construction".

This announcement also disappoints the Yesha Council. But for another reason. The organisation representing settlers in the West Bank and Gaza is surprised that other projects on the agenda of the HPC, such as the construction of hotels in the Bethlehem area, the expansion of Palestinian cities and above all the legalisation of existing buildings, are not mentioned. "By refusing to legalise Jewish localities and by authorising illegal Palestinian constructions, the Israeli government is segregating the Israeli inhabitants of Judea-Samaria (editor's note: the biblical name of the West Bank)," commented the Yesha Council.

More than 450,000 Israelis already live in these West Bank settlements alongside 2.8 million Palestinians.

Eric Apim


Tuesday, January 19th 2021



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