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Tarawneh condemns 'heinous' Israeli plans to create nature reserves in West Bank

By JT - Jan 16,2020 - Last updated at Jan 16,2020

AMMAN — Lower House Speaker and President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU) Atef Tarawneh on Thursday denounced Israel's announcement of its plans to create new nature reserves and expand existing reserves in the occupied West Bank.

In an APU statement, carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Tarawneh said that the announcement is a perpetuation of Israel's “fait accompli” policy that it has been trying to impose since 1948 on the Palestinian territories.

He also warned against the repercussions of Israeli occupation authorities' illegal decisions, which violate all international laws and norms, describing the new decision as "heinous" in both form and content.

Tarawneh called on international parliaments to stick to the principles of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy as the only means to curb Israeli practices and force it to abide by international resolutions. 

Israel's defence minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday, weeks before a general election, announced the occupation's intention to establish seven nature reserves in the West Bank as part of its efforts to maintain control in the area, according to Agence France-Presse.

The sites are all located in what is known as Area C of the West Bank. The area includes the strategic Jordan Valley, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in September he plans to annex.

Bennett, whose right-wing New Right party draws much of its support from Jewish settlers, said last week that the territory belongs to Israel and that his goal is to annex it "within a short time".

In his latest move, Bennett said the Israeli-run reserves would be "under the responsibility" of the Jewish state's Nature and Parks Authority.

He also announced the expansion of 12 existing West Bank sites managed by the Israeli authority, including Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves between 1947 and 1956, AFP reported.

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