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Ashrawi: 'Netanyahu more committed to settlement expansion than to peace'

Sept. 28, 2017 2:12 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 1, 2017 11:26 A.M.)
Hanan Ashrawi (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, released a statement on Thursday condemning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for being “more committed to settlement expansion then to peace.”

The statement came following a speech by Netanyahu at an event "50 Years of Settlement in Judea and Samaria,” using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank.

“Netanyahu’s speech in which he declared that the illegal settlements will not be removed attests to his intransigence and willful refusal to abide by international law and conventions, standing UN resolutions, and global consensus,” Ashrawi said, calling Netanyahu arrogant and accusing him “turning such international norms into a mockery.”

“Israel is more committed to enhancing the extremist Jewish settler population at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians than to abiding by the basic requirements for peace and justice," Ashrawi said.

The committee member went on to urge the international community to hold Israel accountable for its continued practice of illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory, and for “ its destruction of the very foundations of the two-state solution and peace.”

“The Israeli government is working to impose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine by annexing all of Jerusalem, erasing the history, narrative and physical presence of the Palestinian people, and destroying the territorial and demographic contiguity of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem),” Ashrawi said.

There are some 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory, all considered illegal under international law, while hundreds of unauthorized Israeli settler outposts -- considered illegal even under Israeli law -- also dot the Palestinian landscape.

While Israel considers settler outposts to be illegal, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost "Regularization law," which paved the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts, while loosening restrictions on settlers erecting outposts on private Palestinian land.

Meanwhile, in June, Israeli authorities broke ground on the first official new Israeli settlement in 25 years amid fierce condemnation from the international community and rights groups.

Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory have been routinely cited by world leaders and rights groups as one of the main impediments to peace in the region.
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