First Published: 2017-01-30

Saudi condemns Israeli settlements ahead of Knesset vote
Kingdom says Israeli plans to regularise settlements in illegally occupied West Bank threat to ‘stability’ in region, contradict will of international community.
Middle East Online

Israel says new bill aims to 'regularise' all illegal West Bank settlements

RIYADH - The Saudi cabinet on Monday condemned Israeli settlement-building in the occupied West Bank, as the Jewish state prepared to vote on legalising wildcat communities.

Approval of the new construction on Palestinian land is "aimed at Judaisation of large parts of East Jerusalem", the cabinet said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

It added that the settlements contradict the will of the international community "and prevent the opportunity for peace and stability in the region".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said a new bill would be submitted for parliament's approval on Monday "to allow us to regularise once and for all settlements in (the West Bank) and prevent repeated attempts to damage them".

The international community considers all Israeli settlements in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank to be illegal, whether they are authorised by state institutions or not.

They are also seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Since US President Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, Israel has approved about 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem, signalling a sharp change of pace from such projects during the Barack Obama years.

The previous US administration under Obama had viewed such building as "illegitimate" and warned that settlements could derail hopes of a negotiated two-state solution.


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