03/31/2017, 10.34
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A new settlement in Shiloh, in the Occupied Territories, the first in 20 years

Until now, Israel had limited expansion of earlier settlements. Netanyahu promises to use a restrictive policy. The criticism of Hanan Ashrawi.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Knesset security cabinet approved last night, for the first time in 20 years, a new official settlement. The new homes will rise near the Shiloh settlement, and will be occupied by settlers displaced from the illegal outpost of Amona in February, in the center of the West Bank.

During the meeting, Netanyahu also announced the registration of 222 acres, around the settlement of Eli, as lands of the Jewish state and the final green light to the construction of 2 thousand homes in existing settlements. A statement from his office reports that the construction of the latter was announced in January, but that the land transaction had been slowed by technical problems in the housing ministry.

Despite 600 thousand Jewish settlers living in the Occupied Territories, Israel has not built a new settlement since the 1990s. In recent decades, new homes were built within existing settlements or illegal outposts. The current government of Netanyahu, consisting of several settlement supporters, has recently passed legislation that legalizes retroactively dozens of outposts.

Netanyahu wanted to reassure the American Trump leadership announcing that following these buildings "already promised," Israel intends to launch a "restrictive policy" for construction of settlements. According to Netanyahu, the new policy will follow four steps: you will be able to build only in areas already built; if this is not possible adjacent areas will be chosen; if this is not feasible, the nearest land available will be chosen according to questions "of law, security and topography". Finally, Israel will not allow the creation of any new illegal outpost.

Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian official, condemned the settlement approval and called for the intervention of the international community: "Today's announcement once again proves that Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace," she said. "It is time that all members of the international community serve the cause of peace and justice and bring Israel to cease and desist its unlawful settlement activities and illegal unilateralism once and for all".

The United Nations and the vast majority of the international community consider all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal under international law. On 23 December, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling for the Israeli state to terminate all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The peace talks broke down in 2014, triggering an escalation of violence before which proved increasingly apparent inertia (or impotence) of the international community.

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