BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Neturei Karta, a group of orthodox anti-Zionist Jews, expressed on Sunday its support for the latest United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution
condemning the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
The Neturei Karta said in statement that for decades, settlements have been the “main reason for the bloodshed and violence in the holy lands” and that “many innocent souls have been the victims of nationalism and [desire for land].”
In the statement, the group congratulated members of the UN and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for “taking a step towards justice and peace.”
The group went on to call the existence of the Israeli state “illegal” and condemned the “crime” of expelling Palestinian people from their lands for the construction of Jewish homes.
The group highlighted that before the establishment of Zionism, Jews lived with Arabs in historic Palestine “in peace and security,” and called upon Jews “to go back to living in peace with Palestinians.”
Israeli leadership has reacted with outrage and defiance
since the UNSC approved the resolution last week, which states that settlements have "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law," and call on the nations of the world "to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967."
Days after the resolution approval, reports emerged that Israel is set to approve thousands of new settler units in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Local Planning and Building Committee of the Jerusalem municipality is expected to approve some 5,600 housing units in East Jerusalem for illegal settlements, the Hebrew version of daily newspaper Israel Hayom reported Sunday morning.
Human rights groups and international leaders have strongly condemned Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, claiming it is a strategic maneuver to prevent the establishment of a contiguous, independent Palestinian state by changing the facts on the ground, while members of Israel's parliament have repeatedly come forward announcing their support for annexing Area C.
A recent report
by human rights group B'Tselem argued that under the guise of a "temporary military occupation," Israel has been "using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
The movement of Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian land, and further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a "stable" Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967, B'Tselem concluded, underscoring that all "Israeli legislative, legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies" have played an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands.