PLO condemns Israel’s new settlement units plans, calls for investigation by ICC

RAMALLAH, The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned on Thursday Israeli plans to build thousands of illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank saying such act makes it imperative on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Wednesday his intention to push plans for the immediate construction of 2,500 illegal settlement units throughout the occupied West Bank.

In addition, Israeli army’s so-called Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee is expected to advance plans for an additional 1,500 units in 30 settlements; these include Ariel (400 units), Maale Adumin (460 units), Ma’ale Efrayim (45 units), Kiryat Arba (150 units), Alfei Menashe (40 units), Avnei Hefetz (130 units), Hinanit (80 units), Halamish (60 units), Talmon (180 units), Neve Daniel (170 units), Kfar Etzion (160 units), Tene-Omarim (130 units), and Elkana (250 units), among others.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced such plans stressing that such acts demands that the ICC open an immediate criminal investigation in Israel’s settlement policies.

Such egregious policies affirm the imperative need for the International Criminal Court to open an immediate criminal investigation into Israel’s flagrant violations of international law and conventions, she said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority submitted on Tuesday a referral to the ICC, calling on it to start a criminal investigation into Israeli crimes against the occupied Palestinian people, and specifically the Israeli settlement activities.

Ashrawi accused Israel of working to enhance Israeli extremism in the occupied territories.

“Israel’s declared intention to build thousands of illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank discloses the real nature of Israeli colonialism, expansionism and lawlessness, she said. Undoubtedly, Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine.

It is evident that the recent provocative and unlawful moves adopted by the United States, Guatemala and Paraguay have emboldened Israel to move forward with enhancing its illegal settlement enterprise, thereby finalizing the total annexation of the occupied West Bank, she added in reference to the opening by the three countries of embassies in Jerusalem in violation of international law and related United Nations resolutions.

The PLO official appealed to the entire international community to undertake serious and concrete measures to bring about a full cessation of all settlement activities and to hold Israel accountable with punitive measures and sanctions before it is too late.”

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency