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Israel 'to expand settlements' over UN's Palestine vote
Published Friday 30/11/2012 (updated) 01/12/2012 20:36
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A general view shows the Ulpana neighborhood of the illegal Beit
El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah in this April 22,
2012 file photo. (Reuters/Nir Elias, File)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel plans to build 3,000 new homes for its settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in defiance of a UN vote implicitly recognizing Palestinian statehood there, Israeli media reported Friday.

The Ynet news site said the move had been approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner council of nine senior cabinet members on Thursday, as the United Nations General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians to "non-member observer state" from "entity" -- a resolution Israel and Washington had opposed.

Israel will also expedite the planning process in the so-called E-1 settlement zone east of Jerusalem, which effectively splits the Palestinian north and south West Bank.

The Haaretz news site carried a similar report, describing the new homes as a part of a "construction wave" planned by Israel, which deems all of Jerusalem its indivisible capital and wants to keep swathes of West Bank settlements under any eventual peace treaty with the Palestinians.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment on the reports, which were posted at the onset of the Jewish sabbath. Netanyahu's inner council often meets in secret to decide on measures that are later tabled for formal cabinet approval.

A US State Department official in Washington criticized the move.

“We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction,” the official told The New York Times. “We believe it is counterproductive and makes it harder to resume direct negotiations and achieve a two-state outcome.”

The 193-nation UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine after President Mahmoud Abbas urged the world body to issue what he said was its long overdue "birth certificate."

In Ramallah, Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to President Abbas and Palestinian negotiator and a former PLO spokeswoman, said the plans did not come as a surprise.

"Israel has always punished Palestinians for demanding their rights," she said. "This time, however, Israel's plans are also taking aim at the Europeans and the US, who for over a decade have pressed Israel not to colonize this land because it will mark the 'death of the two-state solution."

She added: "With Israel's latest announcement, the ball rests with the international community. Will it sanction Israel in an attempt to save the two-state solution, or will it revert to its usual lip service?"

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel says that if the Palestinian state now joins the International Criminal Court "the issue of Israeli settlements could become an issue of international criminal law."

"This could potentially open the door to the prosecution of Israelis responsible for establishing or expanding settlements," ACRI said in a briefing on the UN bid.

Under international law, transferring populations into an occupied territory is considered a war crime.

Ma'an staff in Bethlehem contributed reporting.
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1 ) Lynx / PS
30/11/2012 18:06
Maan please start using the correct terms: Occupied Palestine. Not occupied west bank or territories.

2 ) freepalestine / palestine
30/11/2012 18:18
This is how to deal with war criminals: ICC & BDS

3 ) Most hateful on earth / Israel
30/11/2012 18:24
Soar losers

4 ) Arnold / Canada
30/11/2012 19:03
Building homes on "occupied" territory a war crime ? I would like to see the exact phrasing of that law and its punishment under that law. Then I would like to to see the relevant war crime law pertaining to Bashar Assad's slaughtering of close to 40,000 Syrians and the punishment under that law.

5 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
30/11/2012 19:09
SO HERE WE GO !!! NOW WE'RE GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS !!! Now get ready for the ICC to find us guilty of war crimes, illegal settlement-building and (since we're doing it on land of a now U.N.-recognized nation) INVASION !!! ... So everybody remember these 2 dates like hell: Nov. 29, 1947 (the U.N. Partition Plan vote to give birth to Israel) and, 65 years later (to the EXACT day) ... Nov. 29, 2012 (the U.N. Palestinian vote to give birth to "Palestine"). NOW we're moving FORWARD, right ???

6 ) Mel / USA
30/11/2012 19:16
U see how"most moral","democratic",colonial 'Jewish-only' Israel treats GLOBAL CONSENSUS democracy! Global CONSENSUS(apart from cowardly US-clients)PUSHES A GREEN BUTTON,to vote for dignified FREEDOM & Arab DEMOCRACY thru' respect to international/universal laws,conventions statutes(of which the majority are co-signers with USA)! And all Israel can do,is BREAK MORE international laws!SHAME ON OUR USG,& its fascist trolls,who label GLOBAL CONSENSUS as undemocratic.How sociopathic is that ethos!

7 ) Zainab / UK
30/11/2012 19:26
This is a typical response from Israel, as they don't want peace with anyone. They just want to take what doesn't belong to them, and wreak havoc on the population of Palestine, believing they have 'carte blance' to do so. Please take note from last nights UN vote Israel, your days are numbered, and your allies are few. The international community has seen what you have done to Palestine, & now that Palestine has become a "non-member observer state" of the UN, the road to the ICC & justice looms

8 ) US taxpayers cough up! / Ireland
30/11/2012 19:55
US taxpayers cough up, thanks Clinton!, well China will lend the US government the money to make it regular contributions to the race-based ethnic cleansing program...or march to a single democratic Palestinian state

9 ) Tibi / Tubas
30/11/2012 21:20
Israel is making contiguous it's "settlement" land holdings,
on the previously Jordanian, disputed West Bank lands, just like
Palestinians try to consolidate holdings on the same disputed/claimed lands.

10 ) gabi / australia
01/12/2012 01:10
just like children at kindergarten!!!

11 ) Julie / USA
01/12/2012 02:37
take these izraeli bastards to court, they're begging to be thrown in jail with this action...so let them rot in hell and be branded as war criminals by the ICC. from their beginning, they have consistently demanded to mirror Hitler...like father like sons. and now the world will be more aware of their crimes!

12 ) davravidumn / USA
01/12/2012 08:27
If the US says that continued building of settlements in the West Bank is "counterproductive" to peace negotiations, then why doesn't the US withhold aid to Israel until such activities are stopped?

13 ) gabi / australia
01/12/2012 09:19
why am I not surprised?

14 ) Lynx / Palestine
01/12/2012 17:26
Dear fellow Palestinians. Let us do our share in helping our new State of Palestine. Please help me get Google Earth's attention in updating their maps to reflect the new State of Palestine. Please contact them with this text: "Dear Sir/Madame I wish to bring to your attention that as of November 29, 2012 (Eastern Standard Time) the United Nations General Assembly has voted to admit The State of Palestine as non-member Observer State. The territory covered by the new state, as per..."

15 ) Lynx / Palestine
01/12/2012 17:27
"... as per the same UNGA resolution, covers the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as well as the Gaza Strip. This is a kind request that you update the labels on your maps to reflect the above (Including the location of all cities/locals in the said territory, to mention "Palestine" and not "West Bank" or "Palestinian territories" as previously referred to on the Internet. I trust that a respectable company like Google will respect and uphold International Law and treaties,..."

16 ) Lynx / Palestine
01/12/2012 17:29
"... in recognition of the new State of Palestine, which would reflect to neutrality in said regard." Thank you and peace be upon you from the Land of Palestine, the Land of Peace."

17 ) Reader / from Edmonton
01/12/2012 18:01
The American policy of condemning illegal population transfers to the occupied territories, ie: to all territories outside Israel's 1948 declared borders, on one hand, and then umpiring the 'game' of driving the Palestinians down the playing field and completely out of the park have left America with no credibility. One could understand why avarice might compel Zionists to play this game, but does America need no other friend?

18 ) Reader / from Edmonton
01/12/2012 18:04
Ireland, the strangest thing about this ethnic cleansing is that the ethnic Palestinians have a greater genetic claim to King David than the usurpers.

19 ) Paul Duffill / Australia
02/12/2012 13:20
@ Arnold Canada. The state of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine is a legal fact under international law: see the world's highest authority on international law, the International Court of Justice's July 9th 2004 ruling: "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory": http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf. Paragraphs 120, 132 & 134 show the specific rules of international law which Israel is violating in it's occupation of Palestine.

20 ) Amin / The Netherlands
02/12/2012 20:20
@ Lynx /Palestine: That's a good idea. I've just sent a request to google earth with same message and hopefully more will follow....

21 ) kassandra / Estonia
03/12/2012 00:03
Re Palestinian's standing in international law. Read the Fourth Geneva Convention. Palestinians, as an occupied people, are "protected persons" and there are numerous clauses that detail how an occupier should deal with the occupied. Population transfers are illegal.
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