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'Incompatible with peace': UK deplores Israeli settlement expansion in occupied West Bank

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2020

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The UK has said Israel's settlement construction is 'incompatible' with its declared peace goals.
The UK on Wednesday deplored the construction of new Israeli settlement units in the occupied West Bank, saying a plan to build over 1,200 units at an illegal site between Jerusalem and Bethlehem is a violation of international law.

"Israel's decision to advance the construction of 1,257 settlement buildings in the Givat HaMatos area of the occupied West Bank, would violate international law, and risks causing serious damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State," said James Cleverly, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, in the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

"We condemn this decision, which is incompatible with Israel's declared goal of peace, and call for both the tender process and the advancement of other settlements in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to be suspended immediately," he said.

Settlements are illegal under international law, but are used as a political tool in Israel to entrench its hold over the Palestinian territories.

Their construction is also contentious domestic issue in Israel and their expansion is often used to appease right-wing voters.

Last week, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Security Minister Benny Gantz promised to approve 1,700 settlements in the occupied West Bank as the prospect of new elections looms. 

Infog: Click to enlarge [TNA]

Read also: Obama suggests bullying campaign by pro-Israel lobby in new memoir

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Attacks by Israeli settlers on the local Palestinian population in the West Bank are common, added to the stifling conditions of the occupation.

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