Israel approves first new West Bank settlement in 25 years


"The Israeli government has made clear that going forward, its intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes the President's concerns into consideration".

The statement said Netanyahu had told the Cabinet that 900 square kilometers (347 square miles) of land near Nablus had been declared state land to make way for the settlement.

The Israeli decision, he said, contradicts all global legitimacy resolutions. "Germany will not recognize any change in the 1967 lines, which has not been agreed between the parties".

Even though all settlements are illegal under global law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the settlers from Amona that he would build them a new settlement.

The official said the President's previous concerns about settlement activity being unhelpful to the peace process "remain the same". President Trump had indicated he would be more sympathetic to settlements than predecessor Barack Obama and the global community, who consider them illegal.

A spokesman for United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, expressed "disappointment and alarm" at the announcement.

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat strongly criticized on Friday the Israeli government settlement expansion plans.

Palestinian officials swiftly condemned the move.

According to media reports, some 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, an area where 2.8 million Palestinians are now living.

Ashrawi called on the worldwide community to hold Israel responsible for the expansion of West Bank settlements.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet has approved construction of a new settlement in Biblical Judea and Samaria after the country's Supreme Court ordered the demolition of another settlement.

He said details would be released in the coming hours.

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The Emek Shilo settlement will be the first new Jewish housing bloc in two decades approved for occupied Palestinian land.

United States and Israeli officials completed a round of talks on settlements last week without agreement, saying the discussions were ongoing.

Israel has long pursued a policy of constructing Jewish-only settlements on land captured in the 1967 war, with more than 600,000 Israelis now living in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"Netanyahu is held captive by the settlers, and chooses his political survival over the interest of the state of Israel", the NGO said.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution in December 2016 denouncing settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal. "In my opinion, Israel will not be restrained unless boycott, divestment and sanctions are practised against it".

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