Settlers Join EU, Palestinians and Jordan in Denouncing Netanyahu's Settlement Plans

The Yesha council feared not many planned units would wind up being built while Palestinians condemned the policy as a 'flagrant violation of international law.'

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A view of the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, on December 28, 2016.
A view of the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, on December 28, 2016. Credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

Settlers themselves on Tuesday condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to build 2,500 new settlement homes.

The settlers' Yesha Council called the blueprint a "disappointment" and said the number of units planned too small to answer demand, and demanded that the government issue more bids for construction across West Bank territory.

"The American government has chaned and Israel's policies also need to change, " a statement by Yesha said.

Most of the units being planned may not be built at all, the council worried.

"Unfortunately, this is a deception meant to look like large-scale approval of construction, while in reality, as on previous occasions, only a few hundred will be built and the rest will only be planned," the council said.

Answering the critics, Netanyahu told a gathering of local government leaders there are council heads from Judea and Samaria "who must be very happy today" for his fulfilment of a promise to renew construction in their communities.

Peace Now strongly condemned the housing plans as a “desperate attempt” by Netanyahu to divert the agenda from the corruption cases against him and criticism from the right about the handling of Operation Protective Edge.

Netanyahu is “leading Israel into a binational state reality. The price of this transparent spin of Netanyahu's will be exacted solely at the expense of Israeli citizens,” the organization said.

Palestinians, Jordan and the European Union condemned the plan as a new obstacle to diplomacy and a violation of Palestinian rights.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority rejected plan as a "deliberate provocation by Israel."

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the decision "damages attempts to restore security and stability to the region and will encourage radicalization and terrorism, and place obstacles before any attempt to create a diplomatic process that would lead to peace and security."

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said that "once again, the Israeli government has proved that it is more committed to land theft and colonialism than to the two-state solution and the requirements for peace and stability.

"Such a deliberate escalation of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise constitutes a war crime and the flagrant violation of international law and conventions, in particular UN Security Council resolution 2334.

Ashrawi accused Israel of "exploiting the inauguration of the new American administration to escalate its violations and the prevention of any existence of a Palestinian state. "

A statement by the Jordanian government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momani called the plans a violation of international law that seeks to undermine peace efforts and hurt Palestinian rights.

"It deals a tough blow to efforts to revive the peace process," Momani said. He urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop the construction.

The EU said the plans for new housing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was "seriously undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution."

"It is regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels," an EU statement said.

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