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Palestinian presidency: Israel 'destroying any chance of resuming peace process'

June 7, 2017 6:34 P.M. (Updated: June 10, 2017 4:55 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh accused the Israeli government on Wednesday of “destroying any chance of resuming the peace process,” after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to “protect the settlement enterprise” on Tuesday.

"No one will be uprooted from their home, I'm doing everything to protect the settlement enterprise," Netanyahu reportedly said, reassuring his extremist settler support base that the settlements would continue in “all parts of Judea and Samaria (West Bank)” and that Israel had continued to build “both inside and outside the settlements."

Netanyahu’s remarks were made in a speech given during a ceremony on Tuesday held to commemorate the 50th year of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.

These statements “prove to the international community once again that Israel still lays obstacles and destroys any chance of resuming the peace process,” Abu Rudeineh said, adding that Netanyahu's remarks directly challenged US President Donald Trump’s efforts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Abu Rudeineh added that Netanyahu has posed an “outspoken challenge” to the whole international community which supports the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, Trump has remained largely elusive on the issue of Palestine, saying in February that when it came to a solution for the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution, in a significant departure from the US’ publicly held position in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict

He also noted that Israel has continued to ignore United Nations Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s settlement activities and reiterated their illegality under international law.

“If Netanyahu doesn’t consider this an occupation, then what is the point of launching a political process? On what possible basis could we launch negotiations?” Abu Rudeineh asked.

He added that the international community’s continued condemnation of Israel’s half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip, “proves that the Palestinian cause is firm and that the Palestinian people will not be defeated.”

On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant presented a plan to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, advocating for 67,000 additional illegal settlement housing units to be built in the occupied West Bank to deal with soaring real estate prices in Tel Aviv.

The plan has been proposed amid rising concerns of Israel’s other plans to advance some 2,500 illegal settlement housing units across the West Bank, including building units in in Amichai, Israel’s first new official settlement in more than two decades.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law. Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts are even deemed illegal under Israeli law, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law earlier this year, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

Palestinians and the international community have continued to demand that Israel cease building settlements on Palestinian territory in order to salvage the two-state solution, which the UN said in April was “in danger.”

Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
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