Palestinians warn of apartheid, one state with new settler housing plans

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“Israel’s calls for ‘peace’ should not be trusted.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour at the United Nations in New York, U.S., October 16, 2018 (photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ REUTERS)

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour at the United Nations in New York, U.S., October 16, 2018

(photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority warned the United Nations that Israel had paved the way for apartheid and a one-state reality with its advancement and approval this week of plans for 5,288 new settler homes.

“Such duplicity cannot be ignored as Israel persists with its violations and further undermines the two-state solution on the pre-1967 lines, paving way for an apartheid one-state reality, while it simultaneously disguises itself as a regional partner who believes in advancing peace and stability, attempting to promote its standing in the international community based on false credentials,” the PA Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour wrote in a letter on Friday.

“This is the direct result of lack of accountability for an occupation that has only expanded its territorial control by the day over the last 53 years. Given its complete departure from the two-state solution, Israel’s calls for ‘peace’ should not be trusted,” he said.

He spoke out after the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria held its first meeting in eight months on Wednesday and Thursday, during which it approved and advanced plans for the construction of 5,288 homes, bringing the annual total of such plans to 9,333. This does not include the deposit of plans for 3,165 homes for Ma’aleh Adumim’s E1 project.

The meeting also marked the first time the council had convened since Israel signed its normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. As a prerequisite for those deals, it agreed to suspend annexation.

Palestinians and left-wing Israelis have argued that settler building is a form of de-facto annexation. Palestinians and the Israeli Left, as well as Arab states have long argued that settlement construction is harmful to the peace process, particularly because it takes place on that they contend should be part of a Palestinian state in the future.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Right have contended that there should be no connection between the two and that it has a right to build on its ancestral homeland.

The Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called on Israel to halt those plans in the name of peace, even though actual new settlement building is low this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, ground was broken for only 474 settler units.

“The approvals and other illegal measures undermine the two-state solution [and] prospects for peace [and] are clear violation of international law. It is imperative world acts against them in protection of peace,” Safadi tweeted.

The Arab League and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process Nickolay Mladenov also condemned the plans.

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