UAE condemns Israel's approval for 3,500 new settler homes

Planning and housing committee of the city of Jerusalem has backed construction of the units

The Israeli settlement of Efrata, built on Palestinian land in Al Khader, Bethlehem governorate, in the occupied West Bank. AFP
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The UAE has strongly condemned the Israeli government’s approval to build 3,500 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In a statement on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry expressed the UAE's rejection of all measures aimed at changing the historical and legal status of the occupied Palestinian territory.

It also expressed the UAE’s categorical rejection of all practices in contradiction to resolutions on international legitimacy, "which threaten further escalation and instability in the region, and impede endeavours to achieve peace and stability".

The ministry stressed the need to support all regional and international efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East, as well as end illegal practices that jeopardise any two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

It reaffirmed the UAE’s steadfast commitment to fostering peace, justice and the realisation of the rights of the Palestinian people.

The ministry called on the international community to intensify efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to avoid further loss of life, prevent fuelling the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and advance all attempts to achieve comprehensive and just peace.

The Israeli government has supported construction plans for 3,500 homes for illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank, a hardline minister said Wednesday.

The move comes after Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich last month vowed to expand settlements, in response to Palestinian gunmen killing an Israeli civilian and wounding several others near the Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem.

"Nearly 3,500 settlement units," Israeli Minister of Settlements Orit Struck wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

"We promised – we are delivering. Together we will continue to advance the settlements."

The local planning and housing committee of the city of Jerusalem, consisting of elected municipal officials, backed the construction of the units, officials and NGOs said.

The move comes as Israel is engaged in a war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip after the militant group's deadly attack on southern Israeli communities on October 7.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the committee had advanced plans for 3,426 homes across Maale Adumim and Kedar, east of Jerusalem, and Efrat, south of the city.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in 1967 and annexed it in a move not recognised by most of the international community.

It claims the whole of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 4:46 AM