The Israeli occupation plans to build at least 4,000 “housing units” in several illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Three Israeli and US officials told Axios that the Israeli occupation government informed President Joe Biden’s administration that it intends to announce in late June the building and planning of thousands of new “housing units” in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Axios cited one source briefed on the matter as saying that the Israeli occupation plans include at least 4,000 “housing units” in several illegal settlements in the West Bank.
An Israeli official told the news website that the so-called “Israeli civil administration planning and zoning committee” will meet in late June to approve the plans.
According to Axios, Israeli and US officials revealed that the US administration is pressuring Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to postpone the announcement or to reduce it as much as possible.
Reacting to the Axios report at a White House briefing, John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, claimed that for a long time, the US administration has been voicing its worries to the Israeli government about illegal settlements expansion.
Kirby alleged that Washington does not wish to witness acts that make the so-called “two-state solution” more difficult to accomplish or that raise tensions.
In the same context, a US State Department spokesperson underlined that it is “critical for all parties to uphold the commitments made at regional meetings in Aqaba and Sharm El Sheikh to avoid measures that undermine the prospects for a two-state solution.”
Axios mentioned that Netanyahu’s government is under criticism from some of its supporters for postponing a scheduled meeting on the settlement plan in the occupied West Bank’s so-called “E1” area.
The website highlighted that the area “is the most diplomatically sensitive area in the West Bank,” adding that establishing an illegal Israeli settlement there would essentially divide the occupied West Bank into two halves.
It pointed out that the Netanyahu government’s decision to postpone the meeting was made in response to pressure from the US administration and numerous European countries.
Plans to build illegal settlements in the area first surfaced in the mid-1990s, but the US and its allies repeatedly resisted their execution, citing concerns that these plans will obstruct the establishment of a comprehensive Palestinian state.
Following the UN’s approval of Palestine’s request to become a non-member observer state to the UN, the Israeli occupation, under Benjamin Netanyahu, declared in December 2012 that it would resume settlement expansion plans in the E1 area. However, because of international criticism, the plan’s execution was repeatedly postponed.
Despite the US publicly criticizing the Israeli occupation’s plans, the Israeli news website Haaretz revealed in 2015 that at least 50 organizations in the United States were involved in fundraising for illegal Israeli settlements.
According to Haaretz, part of the funds also went “toward providing legal aid to Jews accused or convicted of terrorism, and supporting their families” through “Honenu”, a “legal aid society.”
“Among those who benefited from the group’s support in 2013 were the family of Ami Popper, who murdered seven Palestinian laborers in 1990, and members of the Bat Ayin Underground, which attempted to detonate a bomb at a girls’ school in East Jerusalem in 2002,” the Israeli news website highlighted.
It is noteworthy that under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, and the United Nations Security Council has condemned Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in late February that Israeli-built settlements are “illegal” and they “must stop”.