• Ramallah

  • Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 7:34:24 PM
    Last Update : Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 7:34 PM

Palestinian FM’s Advisor: Israel is Expanding Settlements while the World is Busy with Gaza (Interview)

(Arab World Press) -  An advisor to the Palestinian Foreign Minister accused Israel of making use of the world’s focus on the Gaza Strip to confiscate more Palestinian land in the area of the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank.

“This is an attempt to nip in the bud any chances for having a Palestinian state on the ground,” said Ahmed Al-Deek, in an interview with the Arab World Press (AWP).

Deek made the remarks a few days after Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich endorsed the confiscation of 8,000 donums in the Jordan Valley as ‘state-owned lands,’ with the aim of boosting construction of settlements, according to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBS).

The Israeli news website 0404 quoted Smotrich as saying that the announcement would allow the resumption of settlement construction in the Jordan Valley as an “important and strategic” matter.
Deek voiced the concerns of the Palestinian government over the Israeli decision.

“We have been looking with grave concern at the policy of settlement expansion, which has escalated significantly since October 7. The ruling rightists in Israel, as well as the settlement associations, are capitalizing on the international community’s preoccupation with the genocidal war waged on our people in the Gaza Strip, to seize more Palestinian land,” he said.

“This is an indivisible part of the crimes of declared and undeclared gradual annexation of the occupied West Bank, so as to scupper any chance of a Palestinian state on the ground,” added Deek.

The decision sparked Arab and international condemnation, and a spokesman for the Arab League Secretary-General said that it “only reflected Israel’s endeavor to consolidate the reality of illegal settlement.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the Israeli decision, saying in a statement that it denoted Israel’s “persistence to commit more crimes and embark on illegal measures, in flagrant violation of the international law and international legitimacy resolutions.”

Also, the European Union (EU) condemned the decision, and said in a statement that this was “the largest confiscation of lands since the 1993 Oslo Accords,” asserting that settlements pose a “serious violation” of international humanitarian law.

Deek said that settlement is null and void and illegal according to the international law, in the first place.

“For us, it is the largest cause of the whirlpool of tensions, violence and war. Increasing settlement means the expansion of the bases from which the settlers start their attacks, and commit more crimes against the Palestinian people. We follow up on the issue of settlement all the time with the international community and with the International Criminal Court,” he noted.

The Palestinian official considers the sanctions imposed by some countries on settlers in the West Bank “insufficient,” calling for deterrent international sanctions on the entire colonialist occupation system.

“What is needed is to see deterrent international sanctions imposed on the colonialist occupation system as a whole. UN Security Council resolutions are required to be respected, with guarantees that they come into effect, particularly resolution 2334, which would force the state of Israel to stop its settlement activities, engage in a real and significant political process conducive to termination of the occupation, and have a Palestinian state materialize on the ground,” he urged.