PLO to approach UN as Israel moves forward with settlement expansion
An overview of a new section of housing in the Jewish settlement near West Bank. [UPI/Debbie Hill]
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After learning that Israel is planning to build more than 1,800 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem., the PLO has threatened to go to the UN Security Council. It is expected that Israel will announce Sunday the names of the tenders that will build the settlements. This news comes after recent updates on movement towards buildling a wall at the Jordanian and West Bank border.
“The PLO is considering a mechanism to go the Security Council and the UN against these new Israeli decisions, especially as there are international resolutions that consider settlements illegal,” senior PLO member Wassel Abu Youssef said.
Peace Now, a group that watches over any settlement movement, said 1,031 plots were offered by Israel’s housing and construction ministry in the West Bank and 828 in east Jerusalem. They also said that the winning bidders for construction would be able to start shortly.
“Within a few months they will choose the winning bids and the successful contractors will be able to start building within a number of weeks [after],” the group’s Hagit Ofran said.
Just before a visit from US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel issued tenders to build 1,859 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.
“I remain hopeful, and we will make every effort in the United States to move the process forward in a fair-handed way, a balanced way that reflects the complexity of these issues,” he said shortly after arriving in Egypt on the first stop of an 11-day tour. During his visit, he will also stop in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Kerry restated that the United States remains committed to helping the parties reach a final peace deal, but acknowledged recent issues over Israel’s intention to continue building settler homes.
“There is no doubt ... that the settlements have disturbed people’s perceptions of whether or not people are serious and are moving in the right direction,” he admitted.
Kerry was part of progress was made in late July to resume negotiations focused on achieving a two state living arrangement after almost three years of stalemate.
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