Israel Starts Work on New Settlement Regardless of US Peace Efforts

Posted June 26, 2017

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, arrived in Israel on Wednesday for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy told CNN.

While Israel has continued to expand existing settlement blocs, no new settlements have been built since the 1993 Oslo peace accords, which were meant to lay the framework for a future two-state solution.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem, and also claim historical and political links to the land. Most of the world considers settlements built on occupied land illegal under worldwide law, a position Israel disputes.

More than 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Tuesday's ground-clearing work was in preparation for the installation of dozens of mobile homes for the families evicted from Amona, a spokesman for the main settler organisation, the Yesha Council, said.

"Today, the work on the ground has begun, as I promised, to establish a new settlement for the Amona settlers", Netanyahu tweeted over a picture of a small bulldozer and a digger working.

Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group, has said that the rise in construction in the West Bank correlates to a drop in new buildings within Israel of 2.5%.

Israel began building a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank north of Ramallah to house several hundred residents who were forced to leave the nearby outpost of Amona after it was found to have been built on Palestinian land. Trump condemned the decision at the time.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump indicated he would be far more sympathetic to settlements than Mr Obama.

Mladenov was delivering the second report on implementation of the resolution adopted by the council in December condemning Israeli settlements as a "flagrant violation" of worldwide law.

Robert Piper, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, last week, warned that Palestinians were being "held hostage to this longstanding Israeli siege".

Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's special envoy to the Middle East, arrived Sunday in Israel.