NEW YORK, Thursday, March 25, 2021 (WAFA) – UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said today that the ongoing Israeli settlement activities significantly damage prospects for a future, contiguous Palestinian State.
Speaking during the UN Security Council briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, Wennesland said the Jerusalem District Court has denied an injunction to freeze the tendering process for some 1,200 units in the Israeli settlement of Givat Hamatos. He added that the establishment of this new settlement will further consolidate a ring of settlements along the southern perimeter of Jerusalem that would significantly damage prospects for a future, contiguous Palestinian State.
Wennesland mentioned Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) which calls on Israel to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" and to "fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard." Settlement activity has, nevertheless, continued during the reporting period.
In addition, the UN official said on 17 and 18 January, Israeli occupation authorities advanced plans for some 800 housing units and tendered some 1,900 units in Area C settlements. "An additional 210 units were tendered in East Jerusalem. Some 40 percent of these units are in settlements deep inside the occupied West Bank. Over 200 units are in outposts, illegal also under Israeli law, that Israeli authorities are regularizing retroactively."
Wennesland pointed out that demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures continued across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. "Citing the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, 325 structures were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities or demolished by their owners to avoid heavy Israeli demolition fees. These actions resulted in the displacement of 465 people, including 253 children and 105 women," he remarked.
On five occasions in February, said the UN official, the Israeli occupation forces demolished or confiscated 80 structures in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Humsa al-Bqai'a in an Israeli declared firing zone in the Jordan Valley. He said, "The actions repeatedly displaced some 63 people, including 36 children. Israeli authorities informed the community that it must relocate to a site near the village of Ein Shibli."