News / Middle East

    Palestinians: Israeli Settlement Plans Cross 'Red Line'

    FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit.  Israel approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a government of
    FILE- In this March 14, 2011, file photo, a general view of a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit. Israel approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a government of
    Margaret Besheer
    Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Wednesday that if Israel continues its settlement expansion plans to the sensitive “E-1” area east of Jerusalem, the action would cross Palestinian “red lines” and the Palestinian Authority would seek redress at the International Criminal Court.

    When the Palestinian Authority gained enhanced status as an observer-state in a U.N. General Assembly vote on November 29, the move opened the door for it to join several international organizations, conventions and treaties.  Among those treaties is the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

    During the monthly Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki reiterated his government’s frustration with the expansion of Israeli settlements, particularly in the wake of the November 29 vote.  He is heard here through an interpreter.

    “We reiterate once again, before your august council, what is abundantly clear under international law: all Israeli settlement activities are illegal.  Regardless of whether it is one settlement unit or thousands of units; whether it is one settlement or an outpost; regardless of the pretext, these are all illegal,” Malki said.

    The Palestinian Authority could ask the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes for constructing settlements on occupied land.

    Foreign Minister Malki told reporters after the council meeting that if Israel builds housing in the sensitive so-called “E-1” area east of Jerusalem, that it would cross Palestinian “red lines” and the Palestinian Authority would take the matter to the court at The Hague.

    “If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E-1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem, then yes, we will be going to the ICC.  We have no other choice.  It depends on Israeli decision.  Israel knows very well our position.  President Mahmoud Abbas has said that any construction in E-1 or the surrounding [area] is considered to be trespassing the red lines and we are not going to tolerate, absolutely not going to tolerate, any construction in that particular area,” Malki said.

    Palestinians say Israeli construction in the E-1 area at the center of the West Bank would make it impossible for them to form a state with viable borders and would block Arab access to East Jerusalem.  Israeli supporters of the plan downplay those concerns.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month that "there will be construction" in the E-1 zone, which lies between East Jerusalem and a major West Bank Jewish settlement.  But he said it will take time for Israel to complete the planning process for 3,000 housing units.

    U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said that Washington opposes Israel’s proposed E-1 construction plans, telling the Security Council that they would be “especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution” and that U.S. officials had urged Israeli leaders to reconsider this decision.

    But she also reiterated Washington’s displeasure at the Palestinians' elevated U.N. status, saying the United States does not consider the November 29 General Assembly vote to have bestowed “statehood or recognition” on the Palestinians, and that the only route to statehood is through direct negotiations.

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora