The U.N.’s Permanent Observer to Palestine called on the Security Council to take action against new illegal settlements, warning: ‘The situation on the ground is moving from bad to worse.’
By Kit O’Connell
A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.
AUSTIN, Texas — Just months after agreeing to a record-breaking U.S. military aid package, Israel announced a major new expansion of its illegal settlements in the West Bank of Gaza.
In July, the United States agreed to give Israel $38 billion in military aid over the next 10 years, a dramatic increase from current aid levels. On Sept. 28, the Israeli foreign ministry announced plans to create 98 new housing units in the West Bank of Gaza, drawing condemnation from both the United Nations and the U.S. State Department.
“We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,” Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesperson, said in a statement published online on Oct. 5.
Warning that the new settlement could expand to up to 300 units, Toner continued:
“The retroactive authorization of nearby illegal outposts, or redrawing of local settlement boundaries, does not change the fact that this approval contradicts previous public statements by the Government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements. And this settlement’s location deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than Israel, would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.”
Toner warned that efforts to proceed with the settlement would constitute a “step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”
The U.N. Security Council agreed to discuss the new settlement on Oct. 14, amid sharp criticism from multiple U.N. officials.