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US says moving settlement goes against Netanyahu's commitment to Obama

Five of the nine houses marked for destruction in 2006 in the Amona settlement in the West Bank, on January 31, 2006
AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana
Plan to transplant illegal West Bank settlement of Amona to nearby Palestinian land angers Washington

The United States opposes Israel’s plan to transplant an illegal West Bank settlement scheduled for demolition to Palestinian land nearby, a senior official in Washington has noted, according to Ha'aretz.

The US administration recently approached the Israeli government to strongly protest the plan for Amona, which is considered illegal according to Israeli and international law, the official said, Ha'aretz reported.

The Americans say that the plan contradicts commitments Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to President Barack Obama that Israel would not appropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank to establish new settlements or expand existing ones.

In 2009 Netanyahu made a landmark speech at Bar-Ilan University during which he declared, for the first time, that he was willing to accept "a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state."

“The territorial issue will be dealt with in a final agreement. Until then, we have no intention to build new settlements or to expropriate land to expand existing settlements," Netanyahu said at the time.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Thursday that the US was "deeply concerned" by the Israeli plan.

"This would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that's inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinion and counter to longstanding Israeli policy to not seize private Palestinian land for Israeli settlements," .

Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal and sometimes sends security personnel to demolish them.

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank -- including annexed east Jerusalem -- to be illegal.

Amona, home to about 40 families, was built on lands privately owned by Palestinians, who successfully petitioned Israeli courts for the outpost's removal.

After repeated delays, the Supreme Court ordered the settlers' eviction and the demolition of their homes by December 25 this year.

The site being eyed for their relocation is just a few meters (yards) from the present location.

"In order to compensate a small group of settlers who stole private Palestinian lands, the Israeli government itself is now stealing private lands as well," Israeli NGO Peace Now said in a statement.

An advertisement bearing the crest of Israel's civil administration, a unit of the defense ministry in the West Bank, appeared in Palestinian daily Al-Quds on Thursday listing several plots of land near the Amona settlement, north of Ramallah.

It said that they are considered to be the property of absentee Palestinian owners and therefore liable to seizure.

Anyone claiming legal ownership is invited to lodge objections within 30 days of the ad's publication, it said

Staff with agencies

Comments

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"a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state" Yeah this is what Netanyahu said..every word he said, BUT your muslim leader in the P/A refused to negotiate a two state solution, on any pre-conditions, including talks that would see the P/A disarming.. So Netanyahu's words, are now history and mean nothing. Since that day in 2009, mahmoud Abbas has refused several offers of face to face talks. His last statement said he would not talk with NETANYAHU unless all of his (ABBAs) demands were met. This included the right of return for several million arab muslims, many of whom left Israel in, on, or before the war of Independence.Also the right to arm themselves...NO WAY...... The POTUS the muslim HUSSEIN OBAMA, is on his way out now. so new negotiations through DONALD TRUMP (HOPEFULLY) will be held..

Since when have any of Israel's words meant anything. ... it's a deceitful state. The world knows this.

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