Washington (The Inside Palestine)- The United States has “strongly emphasized” its opposition to Israeli illegal settlement advancement on Thursday, stressing such steps “undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.”
In a conversation US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had with Israeli occupation Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, Blinken “strongly emphasized that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, including advancing settlement activity,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in describing the conversation.
.@SecBlinken spoke with Israeli Prime Minister @naftalibennett. He underlined the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and discussed regional issues, including Iran, settlement activity concerns, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and global challenges. https://t.co/Iq2518umL3
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) December 2, 2021
The Israeli planning and construction committee of the Municipality of occupied Jerusalem approved a plan to construct a new settlement in north Jerusalem on a land plot occupied by an abandoned international airport built during the British Mandate.
‘Israel’ used the airport in Atarot, located near the Palestinian village of Qalandia, as a military airbase before permanently shutting it down in the wake of the Second Intifada in 2000.
The new settlement included the construction of over one thousand units, hotels, public infrastructure, and commercial areas. 1200 dunums of Palestinian lands will be used for the project.
According to Israeli media claims, Bennett told Blinken the project was just at the planning stage.
Peace Now, an Israeli rights group, said in a statement that “this is a very dangerous plan which might bring a dangerous blow to the two-state solution.”
It added that the planned settlement project in Atarot “is at the heart of the urban territorial Palestinian continuity between Ramallah and East Jerusalem, and thus prevents the possibility of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The government must remove the plan from the agenda immediately and shelve it.”
Last week, 26 House Democrats urged Blinken to pressure the Israeli Occupation government to prevent the planned settlement project, highlighting how settlements entrench the occupation, undermine the prospects of a two-state solution, diminish the viability of a Palestinian state, and represent a violation of international law.