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Egypt condemns Israel's approval for new settlements in occupied Jerusalem

Official Israeli statements say the new settlements were delayed until US President Donald Trump came to power

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Jan 2017
Israeli settlement
A general view shows the Israeli settlement of Ramot in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem January 22, 2017. (Reuters)
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Egypt condemned on Tuesday Israeli government approval to build additional settlement homes in occupied Jerusalem.

In an official statement, Egypt’s foreign ministry said that the continuation of “settlement activities and its fast pace limits chances for a two-state solution.”

On 22 January, shortly following US President Donald Trump's inauguration, Israel approved the building of 566 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

The ministry added that the Israeli act also “undermines exerted efforts to resume the peace process and revive negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to reach a fair and comprehensive settlement for the Palestinian cause in accordance with international law and agreements.”

The statement described the decision as one that violates the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, as the decision imposes a reality that breaches the principles and resolutions of international law.

“We underline the necessity of a suspension of unilateral moves and intensification of efforts by the international community to encourage both sides to resume dialogue,” the ministry said.

According to international law, building settlements on occupied territory is illegal.

Israeli officials said in press statements that the decision, which was reportedly delayed in the wake of a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activities last month, was made after Trump’s arrival as US president.

The Israeli plan comes nearly a month after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution deeming the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 as having “no legal validity.”

On 23 December, the 15-member council adopted the resolution by a vote of 14 in favour with one abstention by the United States, causing a conflict between Israel and the administration of then President Barack Obama.

The resolution was sponsored by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal after Egypt withdrew its own proposal a day earlier.

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