Israel retrospectively approves West Bank settlements

Israel retrospectively approves West Bank settlements

Israel retroactively sanctions nine Jewish outposts in the occupied West Bank under the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A planning committee will also meet in the coming days to approve new housing developments, Netanyahu’s office announced on Sunday. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also claimed there were 10,000 apartments.

In a first reaction, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday’s announcement should be “condemned and rejected”. “This defies the efforts of the United States and Arab states and is a provocation to the Palestinian people and will lead to further tensions and escalation,” said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Initially, no statement was available from the US, but the administration in Washington rejects any action that would stand in the way of a two-state solution – regardless of which side. US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides reiterated last month: “We want to keep the vision of a two-state solution alive. He (Netanyahu) is aware that we know that massive settlement growth will not achieve that goal.”

The US and many world powers consider settlements illegal because they claim land on which Palestinians aspire to establish their own state. Israel denies this. Since its conquest of the West Bank in the 1967 war, Israel has established 132 settlements, according to the PEACE NOW monitoring group. More recently, negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians took place under US auspices in 2014.

After rocket attack: Israel bombs weapons factory in Gaza Strip

Following a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli air force said it fired on a target in Palestinian territory late on Monday. The Israeli army said on Monday morning that fighter jets attacked an underground complex that housed raw materials for making rockets for the Islamist organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

Alarm sirens sounded in southern Israel at night. The army then announced that four rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Three of them exploded in mid-air and the fourth hit an open area. There were no reports of casualties or material damage. Militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into the border area with Israel on Saturday night. According to the Israeli military, the projectile was intercepted by the missile defense system. A week ago, after a similar attack, the Israeli Air Force fired on targets in Palestinian territory in the Mediterranean Sea.

The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has been extremely tense for weeks. Nine Israelis and one Ukrainian have been killed in Palestinian attacks since the beginning of the year. The Israeli army’s incursions and its own attacks have killed 47 Palestinians this year alone. Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live there today. The Palestinians claim the territories for an independent state of Palestine, with the Arab-influenced eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital.

About two million people live in the Gaza Strip in appalling conditions. Hamas seized power there in 2007. Israel then tightened its blockade of the coastal area, which is supported by Egypt. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, EU and Israel.