World Bulletin / News Desk
Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad bin Amin Madani on Thursday lashed out at a recent plan announced by the Israeli authorities to construct new 558 settlement homes in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).
Madani called on the UN Security Council to take a firm action against Israel's continued settlement construction policy in the occupied Palestinian lands.
"Settlement expansion projects are a flagrant violation against the rights of the Palestinian people," Madani said in a statement that was posted on the organization's website.
"They are also a blatant violation of international legitimacy as well as a threat to the progress of peace talks and the materialization of the two-state vision," he added.
He said Israel's insistence on changing the demography of Al-Quds and isolating it from its Palestinian surroundings must be met with a decisive action from the international community.
He added that the UN Security Council has to shoulder its responsibilities and act to stop repeated Israeli violations, which amount to "war crimes."
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a statement on Friday condemning Israel's illegal settlement plans in East Jerusalem.
In the statement, it was stated that the settlements may damage the ongoing peace negotiations.
"We strongly condemn Israel’s decision on February 5 to advance its illegal settlement plans in East Jerusalem including the construction of 558 housess which we consider to be a step toward transforming the demographic structure of East Jerusalem," said the statement.
"This step of Israel may damage the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Palestine initiated by the US which foresee peace built up on a two-state solution based on 1967 borders. Israel should immediately stop such practices in contradiction with international law, which undermines the ground for peace and the spirit of the negotiation process," added the statement.
According to the Israeli website, as many as 386 new settlement units will be built in Gabal Abu Ghneam (which Jews calls Har Homa) in southeastern Al-Quds; 136 new units in the Neve Yaakov settlement in northeastern Al-Quds; and 36 new units in the Pisgat Zeev settlement in the north of the city.
EU's Ashton voices concern over Israeli settlement units
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on Wednesday said she was deeply concerned by Israeli officials' approval of the construction of 558 settlement units in East Jerusalem, Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Ze'ev.
Ashton issued a written statement on Thursday saying that the construction plans might jeopardize regional cooperation between East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
"The EU and the international community have repeatedly warned that any unilateral action prejudging the final status of Jerusalem threatens the current peace negotiations and, as a consequence, the two-state solution," she said.
Israel stepped up Jordan Valley home demolitions in 2013 says UN
A UN report issued on Thursday cited a significant rise in Israeli home demolitions and consequent displacement in the occupied Jordan Valley in 2013, saying the demolitions had included structures funded by the international community.
The report, issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the total number of structures demolished and people displaced in the Jordan Valley had more than doubled last year compared with 2012 (390/590 compared to 172/279 respectively).
A map attached to the report shows that the Israeli authorities had demolished structures that had been financed by the international community.
According to the Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestinians and Israelis in 1993, the Palestinian Area C – including the Jordan Valley – falls under total Israeli administrative and security supervision.
Israel wants to keep the Jordan Valley under its control in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Palestinians, for their part, want the Jordan Valley – a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one quarter of the occupied West Bank – as part of a future state of Palestine.
Media reports said recently that the United States, hoping to mediate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, had suggested the removal of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley, while also calling for the presence of Israeli troops along the valley's border with Jordan for a ten-year period.
The Palestinian Authority, however, insists that all Israeli settlements in the valley be dismantled and that no Israeli military presence be allowed in the future Palestinian state.
Last week, the UN expressed deep concern over the demolition by Israel of 36 Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley, saying the move had led to the displacement of 66 people, including 36 children.Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2014, 11:03