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Jordan condemns new Israeli settlement plans

'Israel invites bids for 2,500 new settler units'

By JT - Jan 21,2021 - Last updated at Jan 21,2021

A general view taken on Wednesday shows the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem (foreground) and the West Bank village of Hizma (background) (AFP photo)

AMMAN — Jordan on Wednesday condemned Israeli authorities’ tenders for hundreds of settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories, warning against the move's threats to peace efforts. 

Israel has invited tenders for 2,500 new settler units in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, a watchdog said Wednesday, hours before Joe Biden's swearing-in as US president, AFP preported.

Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories is a flagrant violation of international law and international legitimacy resolutions, mainly the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Ministry’s spokesperson Daifallah Fayez  stressed that settlement is an illegal and rejected policy that undermines chances for peace and two-state solution, on the basis of resolutions of international legitimacy. 

On Sunday, Israel approved 780 new settler units in the West Bank ahead of a March general election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to face a fierce challenge from the right from pro-settler candidate Gideon Saar.

Peace Now said the government had now invited tenders for a further 2,112 units in the West Bank and 460 in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope to make the capital of a future state.

It accused the government of a “mad scramble to promote as much settlement activity as possible until the last minutes before the change of the administration in Washington”.

“By doing so, Netanyahu is signalling to the incoming president that he has no intention of giving the new chapter in US-Israel relations even one day of grace, nor serious thought to how to plausibly resolve our conflict with the Palestinians,” Peace Now said in a statement.

For the Palestinians, Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for president Mahmoud Abbas, said the Israeli move was equivalent to a “race to eliminate what remains of the two-state solution, while posing more and more obstacles to the new US administration”.

All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal by much of the international community.

But Trump’s administration, breaking with decades of US policy, declared in late 2019 that Washington no longer considered settlements as being in breach of international law.

Biden has indicated that his administration will restore Washington’s pre-Trump policy of opposing settlement expansion.

But on Tuesday his nominee for secretary of state, said the incoming administration will not reverse Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Antony Blinken said.

There are currently some 650,000 Jews living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank amid an estimated 3.1 million Palestinians.

Governments around the world see the settlements as one of the biggest obstacles to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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