14:20 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Israeli national flag flying next to an Israeli building site of new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Shilo in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. (File)

    Promised Land: Israel to Build More Settlements in the Teeth of Trump, UN

    © AFP 2019 / Ahmad Gharabli
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    It seems that despite the warnings of the UN and US, Israel is poised and ready to continue its construction of settlements for years to come, according to RIA Novosti political analyst Vladimir Ardayev.

    In an opinion piece for RIA Novosti, Russian political analyst Vladimir Ardayev focused on Israel's ongoing construction of settlements, which he said shows no sign of abating despite the cautionary words of both the United Nations and the Trump administration.

    His remarks came after the Israeli government gave the green light to the construction of a new settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank for the first time in more than two decades.

    Additionally, Jerusalem approved the further expansion of Israel's settlement construction despite President Trump's previous request that it suspend settlement activity.

    About 2,000 houses will be built in the West Bank's Shiloh area, in line with an Israeli government decision; the houses will accommodate residents of the Amon outpost, who were evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona.

    Ardayev recalled that in December 2016, the UN Security Council adopted resolution No. 2334, which demands that Israel should stop its settlement activity in the West Bank.

    Jerusalem was quick to say that it will not adhere to the resolution, which was described as a "shame" by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    "The adoption of the document complicated relations between Israel and the prior US administration, which refused to block the resolution;then-President-elect  Donald Trump, for his part, signaled readiness to normalize ties with Israel, pledging it full-fledged support," Ardayev added.

    During Netanyahu's visit to the US in February 2017, Trump promised that he would clinch a "great peace treaty" between Israel and Palestine, which would de-freeze the bilateral talks which came to a standstill in 2014.

    At the same time, Trump urged both sides to show restraint, asking Netanyahu to "to slow down a bit" with the construction of new settlements, which Trump said he does not consider "a good phenomenon for the world," according to Ardayev.

    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a senior White House official as saying that "Netanyahu had committed to the creation of a new settlement and decided to market 2,000 homes in the settlements before President Trump directly expressed his concerns regarding further construction in the West Bank or his expectations of Israel on the issue."

    Houses are seen atop a hill in the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev, in the occupied West Bank February 7, 2017
    © REUTERS / Ammar Awad
    Houses are seen atop a hill in the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev, in the occupied West Bank February 7, 2017

    At the same time, the official said that "Netanyahu was also planning to adopt a new policy on the settlements from here on out that would take Trump's concerns into account," according to the Haaretz.

    Israel still refuses to comply with UN Security Council Resolution No. 2334, and its position has already provoked a wide public outcry across the Middle East.

    The Palestinian Hamas movement spokesman Usama Hamdan, for his part, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that "the aggressiveness of Israel's actions has increased significantly" in the past few months.

    Palestinians and foreigners march towards Israel's controversial separation wall between the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah and the Israeli settlement of Modiin Ilit during a demonstration against settlements in the area, on February 17, 2017
    © AFP 2019 / ABBAS MOMANI
    Palestinians and foreigners march towards Israel's controversial separation wall between the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah and the Israeli settlement of Modiin Ilit during a demonstration against settlements in the area, on February 17, 2017

    "Probably feeling the support of the new American president, Israeli authorities think that they can take any steps without fearing reaction from the international community, which is busy with other problems in the region. So Israel is playing with fire because the Palestinians' patience will not last forever, it can end at the most unpredictable moment and the people will then begin to defend themselves," Hamdan said.

    A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in turn that the UN chief voiced "disappointment and alarm" about Israel's latest decision on settlement construction, according to Al Jazeera.

    "He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, which threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution," the spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, Maryse Artiguelone, deputy head of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, said in an interview with Sputnik France that "some French companies are involved in Israel's colonial activities because they have shares in Israeli banks."

    He added that "the Israeli banks are actively taking part in this activity by either granting loans for settlement construction or creating infrastructure."

    His interview came after a report published by several human rights organizations earlier this week revealed that a number of French banks had financed the construction of new Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

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    Tags:
    settlement construction, international community, activity, support, decision, resolution, UN, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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