Israel announces major escalation in settlement

Israel announces major escalation in settlement expansion

Annie Robbins . Mondoweiss. June 5, 2014.

Israel is using the pretense of Palestine’s new unity government to do what it always does, steal more Palestinian land and expand the Jewish only settlements. Predictably, they’re framing this next expansion project as “part of the reaction efforts”. The Construction and Housing Ministry issued tenders for almost 1500 housing units in the West Bank yesterday, 560 of which are in east Jerusalem.

Describing the plans as a “fitting Zionist response to the formation of a Palestinian terror government,” Housing Minster Uri Ariel said this was “just the beginning”. And you know what else is entirely predictable? Palestinians are “weighing their response” to the announcement. Which I suppose means they are contemplating their options. I’d be beating a path to the Netherlands. I get it that Palestinians have massive sumud, but I sure don’t. I have these Hague fantasies that won’t let up. They could frame it as “part of the reaction efforts…just the beginning”.

Update: The Guardian: Palestinians to turn to UN over Israel settlement drive Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the Palestinian leadership would seek UN intervention to bring Israel to account for the new settlement expansion drive. “The executive committee of the PLO views this latest escalation with the utmost of seriousness and will counter it by addressing both the UN Security Council and the General Assembly as the proper way of curbing this grave violation and ensuring accountability,” she said.

While visiting Jabal Al-Baba, Bedouin community in the area designated C-1 on Tuesday, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Palestinians will respond to any Israeli punitive moves taken in response to the new unity government with charges of war crimes. Jerusalem Post reports: He explained the Palestinians would write letters to the member states of the four Geneva Conventions, which among other topics, deal with the issue of war crimes. “We’ll ask them [member states] to shoulder their responsibility vis-a-vis the occupying power [Israel], vis-a-vis the atrocities and the crimes that are being committed against the Palestinian population in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza,” Erekat said. “We think Israelis and their legal [experts] know what this means.”

The Palestinians also plan to pursue Israel through the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which deals with acts of Apartheid, he said. In 2014, the international community should “not stomach” the use of an apartheid system, Erekat said. “Instead of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state we should recognize Israel as the apartheid state.” ….“We are preparing ourselves for the defense of our people including the option of signing the Rome Statute,” Erekat said. While the Palestinians are prepared to turn to the international court, they are first focused on using the legal instruments afforded them under the 15 conventions they have already signed, he said.

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