Human rights group: Israel approves over 4,000 new settler homes

Jerusalem (Associated Press)– Israel Thursday’s advance plan to build more than 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank comes a day after the military demolished homes in areas where hundreds of Palestinians face the threat of eviction, a rights group said.

This is a shocking example Israelpolicy in the territory it has occupied for nearly 55 years.Critics, including three major human rights groups, say the policies amount to apartheid, an allegation Israel Denial as an attack on its legitimacy.

Hagit Ofran, an expert with the anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now, told The Associated Press that a military planning agency approved 4,427 housing units at a Thursday meeting she attended. “status Israel Another stumble into the abyss, further deepening the occupation,” she tweeted.

Spokespeople for the Israeli government and the West Bank’s military agency responsible for civil affairs did not respond to requests for comment.

This is the biggest advance in the settlement program since the Biden administration took office. The White House opposes settlement construction and sees it as an obstacle to any final peace deal with the Palestinians.

The government had no immediate comment on Thursday’s decision. But last week, when the first reports of imminent settlement approval emerged, State Department spokeswoman Jaleena Porter reiterated that the United States was “strongly” opposed to settlement expansion.

Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal and supports a two-state solution to the conflict.But neither the United States nor other world powers have given Israel – the stronger party – any motive for joining this arrangement. Israel Said Palestinian leaders had rejected proposals from previous governments that would have given them a state.

Israel Think of the West Bank as the Jewish biblical and historical heartland. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who once led a major settler group, opposed Palestinian statehood, but his government has taken steps to improve the economic situation of Palestinians.

Israel Some 3,000 settler dwellings were approved in October, ignoring accusations by the United States, its closest ally.Peace talks with the Palestinians broke down more than a decade ago, in part because IsraelContinue building on the land where the Palestinians want to build their future state.

On Wednesday, the Israeli army demolished at least 18 buildings and structures in the West Bank following a Supreme Court decision that would force at least 1,000 Palestinians out of an area. Israel It was designated as a firing zone in the early 1980s.

Another Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, said 12 residential buildings were demolished in villages in the arid mountains south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

Residents of Masafer Yatta say they have lived in the area for decades, herding animals and engaging in traditional desert farming long ago Israel Occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war. The Supreme Court sided with the military, which said the area had no permanent structures before it was designated as a training area.

“What’s happening right now is ethnic cleansing,” Sami Hulaini, an activist and resident in the area, told The Associated Press. “They’re trying to drive people off the land, saying they’ve never lived here permanently, which is a lie.”

Residents in the area where the demolition took place were determined to stay there, he said. “People are staying on their land and rebuilding has started,” he said.

The military declined to comment on the demolition.

Israel More than 130 settlements were built in the West Bank, and these settlements are today home to nearly 500,000 settlers with Israeli citizenship. Nearly 3 million Palestinians live in territories under Israel’s unrestricted military rule.The Palestinian Authority exercises limited autonomy over parts of the West Bank and Israel Regarding safety issues.

Palestinians want West Bank, along with East, major part of future state Jerusalem and Gaza, all occupied territories Israel in the 1967 war. Israel East Tun Jerusalem actions that are not recognized internationally, and Israel Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized power in 2007.

Palestinians see settlement expansion in West Bank and annexation of East Jerusalem as the main obstacle to any future peace deal, as they reduce and carve up the land on which such a state is built.

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