Palestine raps Israeli settlement

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Palestine women

Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu-Rudeineh on Thursday strongly condemned the announcement of the Israeli authorities to build 1,500 new housing units in West Bank and Jerusalem.

The new settlements come at a time when the world has declared support for the Palestinian national unity government, Abu-Rudeineh said in remarks, according to Palestinian WAFA news agency.

He noted that Israel should realise that its settlement policy was unacceptable, warning that the Palestinian leadership would respond with an unprecedented move to this action.

The presidency spokesman said the settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 were illegal and unacceptable.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ratified the decision to build 1,500 new housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem in response to the new Palestinian unity government.

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro Thursday voiced Washington’s opposition to Israel’s plans to approve construction of thousands of new units beyond the Green Line, according to Jerusalem Post.

The US envoy told Army Radio Thursday: “We oppose construction in the settlements and this type of announcement about building. This would happen with or without the disagreement on the new Palestinian transitional government.”

The housing units, according to Israeli daily Haartez, will be built in the Ramat Sohlomo neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

“I congratulate the decision to give a proper Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror cabinet,” Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said.

“The right and duty of the state of Israel to build across the country to lower the housing prices is unquestionable, and I believe these tenders are just the beginning.”

The Israelis “were using the division as an excuse”, Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti was quoted by Maan News Agency as saying.

“Palestinians can now speak with one voice,” added the Palestinian lawmaker. “We are now unified to end occupation.”

They said, ‘we cannot make peace with Palestinians because they are divided’. Now they say, ‘we cannot make peace with Palestinians because they are unified’,” he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, handed an official letter to the head of the Central Elections Commission, Hanna Nasser, calling upon the commission to start taking steps for holding the presidential and legislative elections after six months following the date of issuing the letter.

Fatah and Hamas had reached a reconciliation agreement April 23 to end years of division. The agreement includes the formation of a government of national unity to oversee general elections in the Palestinian territories.

The new Palestinian Cabinet consists of technocrats backed by both political factions.

Newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that the new unity government welcomed international initiatives based on the two-state solution.

The government was committed to implementing the political agenda of President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamdallah said at a press conference in Ramallah, West Bank, after the first cabinet meeting.

On the other hand, the Israel government has announced that it would not negotiate with the new formed unity government in Palestinian territories which is headed by Rami Hamdallah because it involves members of Hamas.

Netanyahu urged the world not to recognise the newly formed Palestinian government because it includes members of Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel.