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UN Blasts New Israeli Settlement: 'There's No Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians'

Palestinians says decision to build new settlement in West Bank exposes 'systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.'

The United Nations, Palestinians and pro-peace groups blasted Israel on Friday for its decision to establish a new settlement in the West Bank, the first time in 20 years Israel has officially done so.
In a statement, the UN's chief, Antonio Guterres, expressed "disappointment and alarm" at Israel's announcement, saying it was an "obstacle to peace."
"There is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians," he said, adding that the UN condemns the "unilateral" move by Israel which he said "threatens peace and undermines the two-state solution."
Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent Palestinian leader, also blasted the move as proof of what she called Israel's "systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights."
"Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace," Ashrawi said.
>>U.S. senator slams decision to build new settlement: 'Netanyahu not serious about two states'>>
The pro-peace watchdog Peace Now says the new settlement's location will continue to fragment the West Bank and hinder the viability of a continuous Palestinian state.
It also criticized the prime minister's motives, saying "Netanyahu is held captive by the settlers, and chooses his political survival over the interest of the state of Israel.
Since news of the new settlement broke, Israel announced a change in policy as part of a gesture of "good will" to President Trump, according to which it would restrict settlement construction to building within existing settlement, or in lands directly adjacent to them.
Israel's umbrella organization for settlers, the Yesha Council, responded to the new policy, but did not attack the decision. "In wake of the decision and despite some restrictions, the understandings reached between the governments of Israel and the U.S. administration permit the continued settlement construction in all the communities in Judea and Samaria, and even the establishment of a new settlement for the residents of Amona," the council said.
"The true test will be the immediate renewal of planning and development throughout the settlements. We will stand guard and work to make sure that the Israeli government will actualize this plan," they said.
A senior White House official told Haaretz that Netanyahu had committed to the creation of a new settlement before President Trump directly expressed his concerns regarding the issue and that from here on out Israel promised to take Trump's concerns into account.
Germany condemned Israel's decision in a statement by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, saying that the construction of settlements in the West Bank is illegal and an obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East.
The German government also called on Israel to return to the goal of a two-state solution though reiterated its opposition to threaten Israel with boycotts.
DPA also contributed to this article.

Haaretz

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.780666Schermata 2017 03 31 alle 22.19.43

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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