Palestinian politician: Israeli "Grinch" steals Christmas. The go ahead to the project comes at the end of a two-day discussion that took place on December 25 and 26. 1451 new housing units will be built and another 837 planned. Activists and experts speak about the electoral strategy of the Netanyahu government in view of the early elections in April.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli Defense Ministry has approved the construction of over two thousand new housing units in the West Bank, raising the protest of local politicians and international activists. Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat, former Arafat loyalist, compared Israel to the "Grinch" who, through the occupation plan, "decided to steal the Christmas spirit from the Palestinian people".
Local sources confirm that the discussion in the Israeli administrative authority took place on December 25 and 26, coinciding with the traditional Christian festival. At the end came the resolution approving the construction of 1451 new housing units in the West Bank and laying the foundations for the construction of another 837 additional units, some of which in isolated locations.
Activists and international experts point out that the go-ahead for new settlements is part of the election campaign of outgoing premier Benjamin Netanyahu to secure the right's vote ahead of the (early) elections of April 2019. "Illegal actions of this kind - adds Erekat - constitute a deliberate campaign to destroy the two-state solution "and" the world must act before it is too late ".
The settlements are communities inhabited by Israeli civilians and military and built in the territories conquered by Israel after the Six Day War in June 1967, in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, in the Golan Heights and in the Gaza Strip. In 1979 Israel withdrew from settlements in Sinai after signing the peace agreement with Egypt, and in 2005 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the dismantling of 17 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.
At the moment the colonies are located in East Jerusalem, in the West Bank and on the Golan Heights. According to data from the Israeli Interior Ministry, the recognized settlements in the West Bank are at least 133 - in addition to a hundred "outposts" - and host about 500 thousand people, about 300 thousand Israelis live in East Jerusalem and 20 thousand in the Golan Heights.
Under the (outgoing) Netanyahu government there has been a considerable increase in Israeli settlements. In the last five years, the number has increased by 20%, also due to the interruption in 2014 of peace talks and the subsequent escalation of violence, in the face of which the inertia (or impotence) of the international community has become increasingly evident.