by: Ilse Posselt
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 | “We are building, and we will continue to build.” That was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message after the Israeli government gave the green light for the construction of approximately 2,500 homes in Judea and Samaria.
The new residential units are set to go up in Jewish communities and neighborhoods located in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, Israel’s ancestral homeland and the stage against which the majority of the Old Testament plays out.
Last month, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted a controversial resolution that condemns all Jewish communities in this region as “a flagrant violation under international law.” Netanyahu responded to the resolution at the time, rejecting it as “shameful” and stating that Israel would not abide by its terms.
The announcement comes two days after a telephonic conversation between Netanyahu and newly sworn-in American President Donald Trump during which the two world leaders discussed future plans for the region. Netanyahu’s office refrained, however, from confirming whether the Judea and Samaria construction approval formed part of the discussion.
Trump is widely considered to be a staunch friend of the Jewish state and has indicated, in the past, that he would be more open-minded regarding Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria than his predecessors. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied, however, that the decision to give the new residential units the go-ahead was in any way connected to Trump taking office. “There is nothing new about it,” he said. “We have always constructed, including under the Obama administration.”
Lieberman added that future construction projects would also benefit the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and that plans were underway to obtain permission to build a Palestinian industrial park close to Hebron. “It will be one of the largest industrial zones in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria],” he explained. “We are planning to set up warehouse and fuel storage infrastructure, along with other elements.”
The Palestinians were, however, quick to condemn yesterday’s announcement. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, called the decision “a provocation and contempt for the international community.”
“We oppose and condemn this move and it will have consequences,” Abu Rudeineh threatened. “This is a provocation and insult to the Arab world…”
Despite a plethora of archeological and historic evidence linking the Jews to Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians claim parts of this region for their prospective state, with east Jerusalem as capital.
Posted on January 25, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 January 2017)
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