01/25/2017, 09.18
ISRAEL - PALESTINE - UN
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UN condemns Israeli plans to build thousands of new homes in the territories.

The government announces the construction of 2,500 new housing units. The most impressive expansion project in recent years. Strong Palestinian condemnation. United Nations contrary to: "unilateral actions" obstacle to peace and the two-state solution. No comment from the White House, which confirms the desire to "get closer" to Israel.

 

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United Nations has condemned the Israeli project, which includes construction of new settlements and the expansion of some of them in the Occupied Territories in the West Bank. A senior UN official said such "unilateral actions" by the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu are an obstacle to peace and the two-state solution. The White House and new US administration led by Donald Trump has declined to comment on the Israeli decision.

Yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the construction of 2,500 new homes - the most impressive project in recent years - in Jewish settlements, in "response to housing needs." This is the second announcement of this nature within a few days; the day after the swearing in of new President Trump, on 20 January, the government had given the green light to hundreds of new settlements.

Yesterday afternoon the approval of thousands of housing units came. A decision that has angered the Palestinian leadership, and further undermined the hope of peace and the chance to see the birth of a future state on their land. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) describe sit as a "land grab" and new "colonialism".

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary general Antonio Gutierres, emphasized that "the Secretary General says there is no plan B to the two states" solution. In this sense, he adds, "any unilateral action" that poses an "obstacle" to the ultimate objective is a source of "serious concern". "It is necessary - he concludes - that the two sides engage in genuine negotiations to achieve the goal of two states for two peoples."

In words, in the past few days Netanyahu said he would still pursue the objective of two states; in fact, he has given the go-ahead to an unprecedented acceleration of the colonies which are likely to destroy or seize the physical and geographical space for the birth of a future Palestinian state.

The White House has declined to comment on the new expansionist plans of Israel. Questioned on the issue, the spokesman Sean Spicer said that "Israel is a very important ally of the United States", the president wants to "get closer" to the Jewish leadership after years of tension with the previous Obama administration and refers any further question to the meeting between Trump and Netanyahu in February.

Under the Netanyahu government there has been a considerable increase in Israeli settlements. In 2015 at least 15 thousand new settlers have moved into the West Bank.

According to Peace Now, in 2016 the Israeli administration - in the hands of the military - which controls the territories of the West Bank has given the green light for 2,623 new settlements. These include 756 illegal houses and those "legalized" afterwards. To date at least 570 thousand Israelis live in over 130 settlements built by Israel since 1967, the starting date of the occupation. 

International law considers these settlements illegal; a position disputed by the Israeli government, which in recent years has increasingly strengthened its expansionist policy. Added to the settlements are also at least 97 outposts, considered illegal not only by international rights but by the Israeli government.

The peace talks broke down in 2014, triggering an escalation of violence amid the apparent inertia (or impotence) of the international community. In mid-month a peace conference on the Middle East in Paris was held, which was not attended by wither Israeli or Palestinian representatives, which ended with a sterile statement of intent.

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