Palestinians: Israel not doing a ‘favor’ by authorizing homes
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Palestinians: Israel not doing a ‘favor’ by authorizing homes

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The Palestinian Authority on Thursday condemned Israel’s decision to advance plans for building more than 2,223 settler homes in Area C of the West Bank and said the move contradicts the Biden administration’s declared policy of opposing settlement construction and unilateral measures.The Civil Administration is expected next week to advance plans for building the new homes in Area C, which is exclusively controlled by Israel.

The Civil Administration rarely grants permits to Palestinians to build in Area C.

The PA warned against the new settlement projects, dubbing them “a clear violation of the Oslo Agreement, which explicitly states that no unilateral measures should be taken by any party.”

The PA said that the decision to build new homes for settlers is “a violation of all international legitimacy resolutions, foremost of which is United Nation Security Council Resolution 2334.”

Adopted in 2016, the resolution expressed “grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines.” It also called for a freeze of all settlement activity, including “natural growth,” and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

“This rejected Israeli decision contradicts the clear American position expressed by President Joe Biden during his call with President Mahmoud Abbas, in which he affirmed the American side’s rejection of settlements and unilateral measures,” the PA said in a statement.

It called on the Biden administration and the international community “to work seriously and immediately” to stop Israel from proceeding with its plans and warned that the decision will lead to increased tensions and instability. “These Israeli measures will not contribute to the American efforts to enhance confidence-building measures between the two parties,” according to the PA. “Real peace and security are linked to the extent of commitment to all international agreements and legitimacy.”

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the Israeli decision shows that Prime Minister Naftali Bennet “is not better” than his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The settlement policy has not changed at all, and the current Israeli government is not better than the previous one,” Ahmed told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station. “Bennett is even worse.”

The PA Foreign Ministry also condemned the plan to build new settler homes as “theft of Palestinian land.”

The plan, if approved, “means the confiscation and theft of more Palestinian land and the dismemberment of the West Bank,” the ministry said in a statement. “This is an attempt to whitewash and legitimize settlements and beautify Israel’s colonial settlement decisions while misleading the international community and world public opinion.”

The ministry pointed out that the decision to authorize the Palestinian homes was not an Israeli “favor” because these houses were already previously built and inhabited by their Palestinian owners or are under construction on Palestinian land owned by their owners.

“The ministry views with great gravity the decision to build new settlement units and considers it a blatant aggression against the Palestinian people and their homeland, and a painful blow to the international and American efforts to revive the peace process,” the statement read. “It is also a systematic undermining of the chances of achieving the principle of the two-state solution and a disregard for international legitimacy and its decisions, foremost of which is Security Council Resolution 2334.”

The PA ministry accused Israel of ignoring the positions of countries that demand a halt to unilateral measures and are working to help the Palestinians and Israelis in order to create an appropriate environment for reviving the peace process.

The ruling Fatah faction denounced the decision as a “war crime” and “aggression” against the Palestinians.

“Israel’s attempts to legitimize colonial settlement in return for ‘positive’ steps is completely rejected,” said Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawassmeh. “t is time to put an end to the destructive Israeli occupation practices, especially stealing Palestinian land and building settlements in violation of international legitimacy.”

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