Israel announces construction of houses for Jewish settlers and Palestinians on the West Bank
Israel has approved the construction of 6,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and 700 homes for Palestinians.
The decision to approve new homes further extends Israeli presence in the West Bank, but Israel’s approval for Palestinians is far from normal.
Under international law, the establishment of Israeli settlements on the West Bank is illegal, but Israel disagrees.
It is not clear, however, whether Palestinian homes will be rebuilt or will only be legally sanctioned for 700 homes known as the “Area C” in the West Bank. Palestinian villages in the area C are often close to Israeli settlements, and the area is completely under Israeli control.
The Palestinian leadership has rejected the announcement, saying they reject control of any Israeli construction or Palestinian construction in the West Bank.
The Palestinian leadership also said ‘this is evidence of the black colonial mindset of Israeli laws, which ignores all UN resolutions, international law and signed treaties.’
The move comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Gerard Kushner, who heads the White House’s efforts for a peace deal.
There has been speculation in the Israeli media that the announcement has been made about homes to help bring Arab countries to a potential meeting in the United States.
The Trump administration has taken a number of measures that have provoked Palestinian opinion while pleasing Israel.
The Trump administration overturned decades of official US policy in 2017, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The United States also stopped providing aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (ANROVA), which helped Palestinian refugees, since 1949 last year.
In March, President Trump formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syria’s Golan Hills.
Kushner was in Jordan on Wednesday and is due to travel to Israel as part of a visit to the Middle East to gain support for the US proposed peace deal.
Why are settlements a problem?
Israel has settled some four million Jews in the West Bank, while two million Jews live in East Jerusalem. About 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.
Can the ghetto be resolved?
The Palestinians want to establish their kingdom on the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. What will happen to these settlements is a contentious issue between Israel and Palestine.
Palestinians say that because of these settlements it is not possible to establish an independent state in the future.
Israel says Palestine is using the settlements issue to avoid direct peace talks.
It says settlements are not a real barrier to peace and can be negotiated.
Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinians have been halted since 2014.