Palestine 'rejects' Israeli plan to legalize 155 settlement outposts in West Bank
Palestine on Saturday condemned and rejected Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's plan to legalize 155 Israeli settlement outposts in the West Bank.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson of the Palestinian presidency, said in a press statement that the plan "is condemned and rejected," adding that "under international resolutions, Israeli settlement on the lands of Palestine is illegal."
Israel Radio reported that Smotrich began promoting a plan to control Area C of the occupied West Bank, including the legalization of 155 settlement outposts.
Area C, the largest and most strategically important part of the West Bank, covers about 60 percent of the territory. It is under full Israeli control, including for security, planning and land use.
"Israel and its extremist ministers will not succeed in authorizing any settlement established on the land of Palestine," Abu Rudeineh said.
He stressed that the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, issued in December 2016, stipulates the need to remove all settlements, which are illegal and in violation of international law, adding that the United States "bears the responsibility to stop such dangerous decisions."
"This policy, aimed at waging war against the Palestinian people and providing protection for settler terrorism, drags the region into the repetitive cycle of violence and escalation," the Palestinian spokesman said.
More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to official Palestinian figures.
Despite international criticism, Israel has maintained control over the West Bank, which it seized during the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians and most of the international community consider Israeli settlement expansion in the area as a major hurdle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
(Cover: Israeli soldiers guard the entrance to the outpost of Homesh in West Bank, May 29, 2023. /CFP)