“I condemn the decision of the Israeli authorities to promote these projects,” the UN official said in a statement. “The continued expansion of settlements further entrenches the occupation, encroaches on land and natural resources, and hampers the free movement of the Palestinian population,” he denounced.
Wennesland recalled that the settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace.
The official urged the Israeli authorities to end that strategy and refrain from such unilateral actions, which “fuel instability and undermine the prospects of establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.”
The High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration, a military body under the Israeli Defense Ministry, gave the green light to 25 expansion plans, which include the legalization of two settlements not recognized by the Government to date.
The Israeli non-governmental organization Peace Now called the new plan a “slap in the face” “not only to the prospect of peace, but also to the possibility of future Palestinian economic development.” The construction of illegal settlements is against the interests of the country and the only reason to approve such projects is the desire to please the right-wing parties, the group said in a statement.