Home World Israel: France ‘bitterly condemns’ latest settlement construction plan

Israel: France ‘bitterly condemns’ latest settlement construction plan


France on Wednesday said it “bitterly condemned” Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of plans to build 3,000 homes in the West Bank, some of them outside settlement blocs Israel hopes to keep in a future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The UN also expressed concern Wednesday at the settlement expansions.

The comments came a week after Israel approved the construction of 2,500 housing units in the West Bank and 566 in East Jerusalem, marking a major uptick in settlement building following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

The two earlier announcements of settlement construction were made immediately after Netanyahu spoke by phone with Trump, who has taken a less confrontational stance toward settlement building than predecessor Barack Obama, spurring the Israeli building spree.

“Within a week they [the Israelis] have announced [plans for] 6,000 housing units, twice as many as those approved for construction through the whole of 2016,” a French foreign ministry spokesman said.

Palestinian laborers work at the construction site of a new housing project in the Israeli settlement of Ariel near the West Bank city of Nablus on January 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Palestinian laborers work at the construction site of a new housing project in the Israeli settlement of Ariel near the West Bank city of Nablus on January 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

“France bitterly condemns this decision and calls to mind once again that the settlements contravene international law and particularly the United Nations Security Council decision 2334 and that it seriously endangers the chances for a just and sustainable peace.”

Resolution 2334, passed by the UN Security Council in December, demands an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The measure passed when the outgoing Obama administration broke with recent precedent and abstained.

The UN also warned that the expansions could threaten peace efforts.

“We once again warn against any unilateral actions that can be an obstacle to a negotiated two-state solution and call on both parties to return to meaningful negotiations,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Earlier this month, the 70 participants at the Paris Peace Initiative reaffirmed that “a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.”

They also stressed the need for the final peace deal that would give full statehood to Palestinians while satisfying Israel’s security needs.

“A negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides,” the statement read, “including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of [the relevant] United Nations Security Council resolutions.”

The new settlement homes announced Wednesday will include 700 homes in Alfei Menashe, 650 in Beitar Illit, 650 in Beit Arye, 200 in Nofim, 150 in Nokdim (Liberman’s home settlement), 100 in Shilo, 100 in Karnei Shomron and 100 in Metsudot Yehuda.

Israeli settlers scuffle with security forces at the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, on February 1, 2017, ahead of its evacuation. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

Israeli settlers scuffle with security forces at the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, on February 1, 2017, ahead of its evacuation. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

The announcement appeared to be an attempt by the government to calm settler anger over the court-ordered removal of Amona, which began Wednesday.

After over a decade of delays and legal wrangling, the High Court ruled in December 2014 that Amona, which lies east of Ramallah, was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished. Nine homes in the adjacent Ofra settlement were also due to be demolished.

On Tuesday residents were given eviction notices, warning them to be out of their homes within 48 hours. The order allowed residents to file a new appeal to the IDF for a further 48-hour extension. Nevertheless, police began the evacuations a day later.

The eviction came ahead of the final February 8 court-ordered deadline to demolish the outpost.

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  1. @US-First , If justice is done nothing is fait accompli , these houses should be taken over and handed to people on whose land they are build on.

    • Israel has shown contempt for international law since its inception in 1948 so how can justice be enforced? I truly wish justice were available. This is my point good Aftab shah. I respect your views but the present day facts on the ground are indisputable – you have been plundered. Israel will never be held to account by any world powers or international legal tribunal. In the circumstances of today, Palestinian people can never expect a lawful and fair resolution of their plight. I have no answers only a sinking feeling of despair. Find courage in restraint and don’t allow the criminals grind you down. The basic fairness of any ruling power is to give recognition and fundamental human rights to those they oppress. You never got it from Israel and personally I doubt you ever will. Beyond the local picture there is a move afoot to establish a Greater Israel and while that asinine notion gains traction with European and US help the unfortunate people of Palestine will be dismissed by impulsive Jewish contempt for the rule of law.

  2. Israel has been making these houses on Arab land since 1948 and as no one did any thing to stop them , why would they not keep doing it ?

  3. According to the Israeli media – the antithesis of the MSM, the IDF is set to attack Lebanon again behind an onslaught of powerful missiles. However, their enthusiasm has been tempered by the realization that the residents of Israel’s northern regions are particularly exposed to a Hezbollah response because just what that response will be is a mystery…a very unsettling mystery.

    Nobody rightly knows what Hezbollah has in its arsenal and even a calculated guess – unlike modern missile batteries lying in wait, can be well off the mark. One thing the Israelis do know is that Hezbollah has an estimated 1,000 active fighters, many of whom lost their lives fighting in Syria. So maybe Lieberman now feels it is time to strike to the IDF’s advantage. Besides, Trump has probably given them carte blanche to do what they want. That too should give pause for thought and stifle what might well prove a devilishly flawed impulse with damnable consequences. Just like 2006.

  4. Sorry JohnZ, your statement might sound good propped up at your local bar, but in reality Israel has in it’s arsenal the very latest weapons of war, and will be topped up by America if stocks go down, no matter the carnage. The Palestinians wouldn’t have a chance.
    Israel has been trying to start WW3, to finally rid the Palestinians thru the fog of war, ‘mow the lawn’ so to speak.
    Keep up your support though.

  5. What land is left to negotiate Palestinian sovereignty? The issue has all but been rendered a joke. Israel has all but negated the issue as a fait accompli by creeping and inexorable expansion.

    A promise of secure borders for Israel by the UN backed the US might have helped resolve the issue years ago but Israeli arrogance and intransigence has all but scuppered any hope of a two-state solution. It has reached a stage now where having taken an inch they want to take the proverbial mile and instead of bringing a hornet’s nest about their ears stand to bring down the wrath of the entire Middle East, or looking over their burdened shoulders to 3830, the wrath of God.

    Congress has compromised the sovereignty of the United States by backing this nefarious state of affairs willing to do the bidding of any and every Jewish lobby promoting Israeli expansion. And to rub Palestinian faces even further in the mire our good President intends to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. It is almost enough to want to sing the blues of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson: –

    And I can’t wait to get on the road again
    On the road again
    Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
    We’re the best of friends
    Insisting that the world keep turning our way

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