12/20/2012, 00.00
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UN criticizes Israel for new settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank

by Joshua Lapide
Decided condemnation of EU members. The U.S. blocks a Security Council resolution, but criticizes Netanyahu’s policy for Israel. The new construction projects in Givat Hamatos and Ramat Shlomo separate East Jerusalem from the rest of the territories. A new motorway in Beit Safafa bisects the Palestinian village for the benefit of Israeli settlers in Gush Etzion. Palestine could seek justice at the international court in The Hague.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - All members of the UN Security Council, with the exception of the United States, have accused Israel of undermining peace with the latest decisions to build more settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. In recent days, Israel has launched plans to build 2610 homes in Givat Hamatos, 1500 others in Ramat Shlomo and a highway that bisects the area of ​​Beit Safafa.

The four European members of the Security Council - France, Germany, Great Britain and Portugal - have issued a statement saying they were "extremely concerned" about the new wave of construction decided by the Israeli government.

AsiaNews sources in Tel Aviv say that it is only thanks to the support of the United States that the body could not produce a UN resolution condemning Israel, but the U.S. State Department has accused Israel of choosing "a path of provocation" that creates "additional risks" for peace.

"The systematic expansion of settlements - the EU statement said - threatens the ability of the two States solution." "Under international law the settlements are illegal and harmful to any international effort to restart peace negotiations and ensure the two-state solution."

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN has expressed his anger at the Security Council that instead of worrying about the massacres taking place in Syria [also against the Palestinians], continues to deal with Israel.

Israel's decision to continue with the expansion of illegal settlements is a deliberate retaliation by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu after the recognition of Palestine as a non-member and observer State at the UN Assembly.

The avalanche of new settlements, as well as possession of Palestinian land, makes the building of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital even more difficult because it disrupts the territorial continuity between the city and the rest of the territories.

The project of 2600 houses in Givat Hamatos, near East Jerusalem, was approved yesterday. Another project to build 900 new homes in the same area has been postponed. But just two days before another plan to build 1,500 homes in Ramat Shlomo was approved, always near East Jerusalem. Two weeks ago, Israel had expressed its intention to build 3 thousand new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Jerusalem municipality is also building a highway that passes through Beit Safafa in the south of the city (belonging to East Jerusalem), which bisects the area. The road passes a few meters from the homes of Palestinians and separates them from the mosque, shops, from nurseries that until now were a few minutes from the houses. With the new road it will take much more time - through other roads, underpasses and bridges - to reach the other side of the village.

The new road will bring benefits only to Israeli settlers in the West Bank, especially those of Gush Etzion, who will be directly connected to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

In 2010, bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down precisely because of the failure to freeze illegal settlements. Now that Palestine has been recognized by the UN, it is possible that its government will ask the international tribunal in The Hague for justice.

In the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, there are currently at least 500 thousand settlers in more than 100 illegal settlements.


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