Israel to build thousands of new settlement homes in the Occupied West Bank

An Israeli flag flies high in front of a Jewish settlement in the area of Jerusalem An Israeli flag flies high in front of a Jewish settlement in the area of Jerusalem AFP/Getty Image

31 May 2020

Despite international condemnations the Israeli government announced the construction of 7,000 new homes in southern Jerusalem

Israel makes another significant step as part of its policy to annex the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In fact, on 6 May, the Defense Minister Naftali Bennett gave his  green light to the Housing Ministry for the expansion of the Efrat settlement, located 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem and already hosting 11,000 Jewish settlers. This decision will enable Israel to move 7,000 more residents and double the size of this West Bank settlement .

The settlers enthusiastically welcomed the approval of the plan after a decades-long legal battle over the land with Palestinians, who argue that they held its ownership and would  use it for farming and agriculture. However, these complaints do not seem to have affected Bennett’s stance, as he declared that “The construction momentum…must not be stopped for even a moment”. The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad al-Maliki, strongly condemned the Israeli plan, as this would  constitute an utter disregard for international law and a disrespect for international warnings, stressing that increasing the constructions of settlements would undermine the prospect of a two-state solution.

It has to be mentioned that  Israel’s systematic policy of re-settling civilians to the Occupied Palestinian Territory contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law. Both Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibit an unlawful appropriation of property by an occupying power. Consequently, this annexation of territory by Israel, while being backed by consecutive US administrations,  has been continuously criticized by the European Union and the UN. In a surprise move,  in November 2019 the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the settlements in the West Bank were not inconsistent with international law.


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Author: Michele Pitta

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