Israeli PM calls for land grab in the West Bank
Settlements in the West Bank doubled in 2013. (AFP/File)
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An Israeli minister has proposed grabbing more Palestinian land in reaction to a recent agreement between the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
According to Israeli media reports, Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan on Sunday called for Tel Aviv to annex Area C of the occupied West Bank.
“I suggest we begin to prepare to annex Area C. Where there is a Jewish population that needs to stay where it is, we can begin preparations to annex it if there is no Palestinian partner and the situation is unlikely to change,” he said.
Erdan noted that Israel needs to send a clear message to the Palestinian groups by the move.
On April 23, Hamas and the PLO, which includes Fatah Party, pledged to end their differences and form a unity government.
Under the long-awaited deal, Hamas and Fatah are to establish the unity government within five weeks and hold national elections six months later.
The Israeli government has reacted by canceling the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and threatening sanctions against it.
On April 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the unity deal as a “blow to Israel” and said the pact is “killing” the talks between Tel Aviv and the PA.
Last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010, after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
The presence and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967.
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