Israeli settlement expansion undermine peace: Arab League chief

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The Arab League chief has censured Israel’s plan to build new settler units in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, saying such land grab policies, which defy UN resolution, undermine peace.

The East Jerusalem al-Quds municipality issued permits on Wednesday to add 176 units in Israel’s Nof Zion settlement, surrounded by the Palestinian district of Jabal Mukaber.

Responding to the move, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said during a press conference on Thursday that the Tel Aviv regime had to choose between settlement expansion and peace.

He said the planned settlements were in breach of the United Nations Security Council 2334, which calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

While Palestinians consider East Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of their future state, the Israeli regime regards the whole of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.

Last week, Israeli officials approved the construction of more than 2,600 additional units in settlements across the West Bank as well.

The announcement was met with criticism from the European Union, which warned that any settlement activity pushed farther back the prospect of a lasting peace.

Netanyahu pledges $250mn for settlements

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he would set aside 800 million shekels ($230 million) for infrastructure projects within the settlements.

During a meeting with settlement authorities, he said the money would be spent on improving security in the projects and building new roads that connect them.

The decision followed a protest in front of the PM’s office by some settlers, who complained about what they called lack of security.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now, says that the Israeli regime “has opened all the floodgates when it comes to settlement developments within Palestinian neighborhoods.”

The activities, considered illegal under international law, have been accelerated under US President Donald Trump, who has offered unconditional support to Israel ever since taking office in January.

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