Since January when the far-right government in Israel came to power, it has issued more illegal settlement authorizations than ever before, causing grave concern among human rights groups.
According to a new report by Peace Now, a non- governmental human rights organization, the far-right extremist government in Israel as approved record construction in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank in its first six months in power.
In the statement issued this Thursday, the organization said that since January this year, the construction of 12,855 settler housing units had been approved across the West Bank. this, as the report noted, is the largest number an Israeli government has ever allowed since the Israel-based organization started tracking such developments back in 2012.
“In the past six months, the only sector that Israel has vigorously promoted is the settlement enterprise,” Peace Now said in the report. statement. Peace Now is a non-governmental organization, liberal advocacy and activist group based in Tel Aviv with the aim of promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Settlement expansions have become number-one priority for the new extremist government in Israel. It was last month in late June that that the Israeli government approved plans for the illegal construction of more than 5,000 new housing units in the occupied West Bank and gave far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich almost unlimited powers to expedite the construction of settlements. By allowing the new constructions, the new government in Israel under the rule of Benjamin Netanyahu has bypassed measures that have been in place for 27 years.
Good to mention that in illegal settlements located in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel took by force in 1967, a population of more than 700,000 Israelis live. More than three million Palestinians also live in the same area, subject to Israeli military rule that rights groups have equated to apartheid.
UN, US, and Europe, all rebuked Israel for unbridled new settlement authorizations.
Moving towards building as many illegal settlements as possible with an insatiable desire, the Israeli government has been growingly criticized even by its allies, especially including the United States.
Rebuking Israel on the matter, the White House said in a statement last month that Israel’s illegal settlement activities have “created facts on the ground” that undermine hopes for peace between Israel and a future state of Palestine. “The United States strongly opposes these unilateral measures which exacerbate tensions, harm trust between the parties and undermine the geographic viability of the two-state solution,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Likewise, foreign ministers of Australia, Canada and the UK issues a highly unusual joint statement in early July and said they were “gravely concerned” over Israel moving ahead with over 5,700 new houses in the occupied territories. “The continued expansion of settlements is an obstacle to peace and negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” the statement read, calling for Israel to reverse the decision.
Last but not least, the U.N. Security Council also joined the group of critics of Israel and issued a formal statement in June, denouncing Israel’s plan to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. It is worth noting that this anti-Israeli resolution was the first action that Washington has allowed the body to take against Israel in six years.
“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,” the council said in the statement. “The Security Council expresses deep concern and dismay with Israel’s announcement on February 12,” it added.