News, March 2008
Europeans slam ongoing illegal Israeli settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank
Palestinian cabinet condemns Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank
The Palestinian cabinet convened on Monday
evening to discuss Israel's decision to build 750 new residential units
in illegal settlements in Jerusalem and Giv'at Ze'ev. The cabinet
labeled the planned expansion destructive to the peace negotiations and
a step that could draw the region further into the cycle of violence.
Javier Solana: no peace in the Middle East with settlement construction
Tuesday March 11, 2008 12:35 by Mohamed Al Arabi - IMEMC News
Javier Solana High Representative for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the European Union,
stated on Monday evening that if Israeli continues to built settlements
it would not create "the right atmosphere" for peace in the Middle East.
Paris slams ongoing settlement construction
France slammed on Monday the ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and considered settlement activities as obstacles that are limiting the ability to create a viable Palestinian State. The statement came after Israel resumed the construction of homes in a West Bank settlement.
Spokeswoman of the French Foreign Ministry, Pascale Andreani, stated that “France slams the ongoing settlement activities as this issue limits the survival of the future Palestinian State”.
She called on the Israeli government to refrain from any unilateral acts that could harm the final status peace talks and could hinder the peace process.
On Sunday, Israel announced that it resumed the construction of housing units in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. This act would limit the possibility of resuming peace talks which were stopped recently by the Palestinian side after Israel carried a large scaled military offensive into Gaza killing more than 124 Palestinians, including women and children.
The United States refrained from slamming the Israeli decision to resume settlement construction and only expressed “concern” over the issue.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, gave the green light for the construction of hundreds of housing units in Givat Zeev settlement, north west of Jerusalem.US State Department spokesperson, Shon McCormack, refused to comment in the issue and stated that would ask the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, if she discussed this issue during last week's phone calls with Israeli officials. It is worth mentioning that the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, arrived in France on Monday and is expected to remain in the country until Friday.
Peres and the Frnech President, Nicolas Sarkozy, will open on Friday a book fair which focuses on Israeli literature. 39 Israeli writers were invited to attend the even, while a number of Arab countries said that they are boycotting the event.
An Israeli plan to build 400 new housing units in East Jerusalem
n Monday, the military Radio of Israel revealed a new plan to build 400 housing units in the illegal Israeli settlement of Naveh Yakov northeast of East Jerusalem The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem is applying for the construction of these housing units which will connect the settlement of Naveh Yakov with another nearby settlement, part of which is within the green line which Israel considers as the separating boundary with the West Bank
The Israeli movement of " Peace Now" commented on the plan saying "it considers it as a step towards having a geographical contiguity of settlements between East Jerusalem and the nearby settlement that is located outside the Separation Wall." Dr Saeb Eirikat, head of the negotiations affairs' department in the Palestine Liberation Organization said "we were surprised about the Israeli decision that was released on Sunday for the construction of 850 housing units in the illegal settlement of Gevaat Zeav north of East Jerusalem.
This is very dangerous and should be condemned because actually either there is peace negotiations or attacks and settlements. Israel can not have the two tracks together" According to Eirikat, Palestinian officials had asked the US administration to intervene to prevent Israel from carrying out such actions since they will inevitably thwart the peace process and the credibility required to accomplish the goals of the process.
He expressed his hopes that the Middle East Quartet would intervene to halt the new settlement construction project to provide the needed atmosphere to protect the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert had approved on Sunday the construction of (750) housing units in the settlement of Gevaat Zeav justifying it as a procedure that comes within the policy of the high demand on housing after the demographic increase in Jerusalem.
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