West News Wire: The Israeli government’s submission of intentions to accept thousands of building permits in the occupied West Bank has reportedly “deeply troubled” the United States, who has urged Israel to resume negotiations aimed at de-escalation.
Israel’s Supreme Planning Council is scheduled to meet the following week. Although only 1,332 of the 4,560 housing units planned for approval are up for final approval, the remaining units are still undergoing the preliminary clearance procedure.
Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s finance minister who also oversees the defence department and thus plays a key role in managing the West Bank, stated that Israel would “continue to develop the settlement of and strengthen the Israeli hold on the territory.”
The majority of nations consider Israel’s 1967 land conquest-related settlements to be illegal. One of the key concerns in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is their existence.
Palestinians want to create a separate state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US-mediated peace negotiations have been inactive since 2014.
The latest action, which comes despite US demands to stop settlement development, which Washington sees as a barrier to peace, was met with “deeply troubled” statements from the US State Department. It urged Israel to start up a de-escalation-focused conversation once more.
The United States rejects such unilateral moves that make a two-state solution more challenging to realise, as has been longtime policy, and are an obstacle to peace,” a department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said in a statement.
Since entering office in January, the nationalist-religious coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, has approved the promotion of more than 7,000 new housing units, most deep in the West Bank.
It also changed a legislation to make it possible for residents of four evacuated communities to return.
The Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday that it will boycott a meeting of the joint economic committee with Israel that was set to take place on Monday in retaliation to the Israeli decision.
Palestinian Hamas criticised the decision, saying it “will not give [Israel] authority over our country. By any means necessary, our people will fight back.