News / Middle East

    Israel Reveals Plans to Expand Settlements After UN Vote

    FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit.  FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit.
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    FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit.
    FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit.
    VOA News
    Israel has revealed plans to build 3,000 new homes for its settlers in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, following the Palestinian Authority's successful United Nations recognition bid.

    Israeli officials, speaking to the media on condition of anonymity, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government had authorized the building plans, as well as preliminary zoning work in other areas of the West Bank.

    The White House described the decision as "counterproductive," with spokesman Tommy Vieto saying these actions make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution.

    The Israeli move has angered the Palestinians, who are celebrating a historic U.N. General Assembly vote upgrading the status of the Palestinian Authority to that of a non-member observer state.
     
    Palestinians were especially cheered by the 138 U.N. members who voted in favor late Thursday.  They said it added legitimacy to their claim for Palestinian statehood and added weight to their position in peace negotiations with Israel.
     
    Nine countries, including Israel and the United States, opposed the resolution.  Forty-one, including Britain and Germany, abstained, but the bid was endorsed by a large number of European Union members.

    Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York, November 29, 2012.Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York, November 29, 2012.
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    Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York, November 29, 2012.
    Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York, November 29, 2012.
    Israel denounced the decision.  Netanyahu dismissed the vote as meaningless, while Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, said the new status will not advance peace.

    Washington, which also opposed the measure, voiced similar concerns.  The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said the U.N. decision hinders the prospects of reaching durable peace in Israel.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday's vote underscores the urgency to return to negotiations, and called on both sides to return to the table.

    The Vatican also welcomed the decision, calling for "an internationally guaranteed special statute" for Jerusalem, a comment bound to annoy Israel.

    The new status does not establish a Palestinian state, but many Palestinians say they hope the move will bring a resumption of peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dr. Huntington from: UK
    November 30, 2012 10:44 PM
    the truth is that with the UN recognition of the "Palestinian" claim, the UN has lost all credibility... the whole structure is as corrupt as could be... so lets start all over again... the Palestinians will corrupt all they touch... including the ICC...

    by: Truth be told. from: USA
    November 30, 2012 8:27 PM
    Often on the news we hear the terms "occupied territories", "1967 borders", and "illegal settlements". And the story we usually hear sounds very simple... During the six day war, Israel captured the West Bank from the Palestinians, refused the UN demand to retreat, and illegally built settlements, but is that really the case? Let's start with a simple but EXTREMELY IMPORTANT question: From whom did Israel capture the West Bank? From the Palestinians? NO! In 1967 there was NO Arab nation or state by the name of Palestine. Actually was there ever? So, who's territory is it? Until 1917 the Ottoman Empire occupied the whole region. After losing in WW1 the Ottomans relinquished their 500 year control to the allied forces which decided to divide the old empire into countries. Britain recognized the Jews historical right to their homeland. A small area equivalent to about half of 1% of the Middle East was designated for this purpose. however, do you realize what happened? The Jewish homeland not only included the West Bank, but also the East Bank of the Jordan River. I suppose you cannot say that the Jewish people have not accepted some painful compromises, already. With the British Mandate ending, UN general assembly resolution #181, recommended the establishment of two states; one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted it and went on to create the nation of Israel in 1948. While the Arabs refused a compromise and launched a war to destroy the newly established nation. At the end of the war, a cease fire line was formed, (armistice line, 1949), and both sides stopped fighting. At the insistence of the Arab leaders, this line was defined as having NO political significance. So, although this line is commonly referred to as the "1967 border", it is NOT from 1967, and it was never an international border. Israel's presence in the West Bank is the result of self defense. The West Bank should not be considered "occupied", because there was no previous legal sovereign in the area. And therefore, the real definition should be "disputed" territory. The 1947 partition plan has no current legal standing, while Israel's claim to the land was clearly recognized by the international community during the 20th century.That is why the presence of Israeli settlements and construction in the West Bank should NOT be considered illegal. So what is the solution to the dispute over the West Bank? Fortunately the solution lies in God's Word, and His unbreakable covenants and promises to his chosen people. Any negotiations must be based on legal and historical FACTS. So stop using the so-called terms "illegal" and "occupied" territories," and "1967 borders". They are simply not politically correct or in agreement with Gods Word.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    December 01, 2012 2:21 AM
    I dont believe you. You jumped from 1917 to 1948 right way. What happened between those years? in 30 years, no any country took control of the vacuum territory? just waiting for Jews? You must lied about something.

    by: Circular from: Ottawa
    November 30, 2012 4:46 PM
    Wow! What a surprise.

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