Construction of illegal Jewish settlements exploded under Netanyahu
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 22, 2013
Less than a week before the elections in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a clear favorite, the organization Peace Now has published a report which reports a record growth in construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories during the current term.
The publication of this information coincides with the announcement of new tenders in settlements by the Israeli Housing Ministry. Nearly 200 residential units have gone out to tender, 89 of them in Kiryat Arba, a settlement near Hebron, in the heart of the West Bank, as published by Yedioth Ahronoth.
Announcements of new colonies that the international community considers illegal occur in a context of increasing isolation in the world by the Israeli Prime Minister
A day after this information came to light, it has also been made public that U.S. President Barack Obama continues to increase his disapproval of Israel’s policies regarding the construction of the settlements and the way Netanyahu has conducted the country’s affairs.
Obama believes that such actions are leading the country to the abyss, mainly due to the continued expansion of settlements. There is, however, little chance that the new data published by Peace Now have a significant impact on the Israeli election race, since the relationship with the Palestinians is a matter of little importance in the campaign.
The Peace Now report, which follows closely the evolution of settlements indicates that Israel’s Executive approved 6676 housing units in the Palestinian territories in 2012.
In 2011, Netanyahu approved 1607 and only a few hundred in 2010, the year when Netanyahu launched a moratorium under U.S. pressure. Up to 40% of new construction that began last year occurred in isolated colonies, located east of the Israeli security wall.
“The policies and actions of Netanyahu in the West Bank and East Jerusalem reveal a clear intention to use the settlements to torpedo and render impossible the realistic option of the two States — Palestinian and Israeli –” says Peace Now in his paper.
Together with Peace Now, both Washington and the European Union consider that the settlement expansion threatens the territorial continuity and even the viability of a future Palestinian state.
More than half a million Israeli settlers live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The calls for peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis have remained static for at least two years. The Palestinians refuse to sit at the negotiating table until Israel decides to curb the construction of settlements.
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