Palestine urges sanctions against Israel over settlement construction policies

Palestine has called upon the international community to impose sanctions and other punitive measures against Israel over its settlement construction policies in the occupied territories, saying world countries should not simply suffice to written statements in this regard.

The Palestinian foreign ministry stated on Tuesday that the Palestinian nation pays a heavy price every day as a result of settler violence and the surge in crimes being committed by Israeli troops against defenseless civilians, their land, property and homes.

The ministry added that the occupying Tel Aviv regime utilizes all its capabilities to prevent the presence of Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, which constitutes about 61 percent of the territory and is under full Israeli military control, in order to build settlements as part of its creeping annexation of occupied territories, divide the West Bank, and kill any chance for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.

It said it has brought Israeli violations to international courts, most notably the International Criminal Court (ICC), and contacted various UN officials and institutions.

The Palestinian foreign ministry also voiced its deep dissatisfaction over weak international reactions to Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank, and the construction of more settler units there.

The ministry argued that such reactions indicate the exercise of double standards and the absence of a will to uphold international law and relevant UN resolutions, arguing that Israeli officials continue their settlement construction policies in defiance of repeated international objections to such activities.

The statement concluded that expression of concern and refusal to issue a strongly-worded statement in rejection of Israeli violations and crimes are part of attempts by some members of the international community to escape their responsibilities vis-à-vis the sufferings of the Palestinian nation, as well as the blatant discrimination they experience.

Such behavior points to the absence of an international desire to apply international law concerning the situation in occupied Palestinian lands, it said.

Three Israeli and US officials told the US-based news website Axios on Monday that the Tel Aviv regime intends to announce later this month the building and planning of thousands of new units in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.

The plans that are expected to be announced include at least 4,000 units in several existing West Bank settlements, according to one source briefed on the issue.

An Israeli official said the so-called Israeli Civil Administration Planning and Zoning Committee will convene before the end of the current month to approve the new settlement plans.

Emboldened by the persisting US support, the Tel Aviv regime has brazenly increased its unlawful settlement construction efforts, in direct defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which unequivocally condemned the establishment of settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds as a gross violation of international law.

The vast majority of the international community considers such Zionist settlements in occupied territories as illegal.

More than 600,000 occupying settlers live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has issued multiple resolutions condemning the Israeli regime’s settlement activities in these occupied territories.

Palestinians insist on having the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was the Tel Aviv regime’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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