“Despite lacking a clear mandate, for this caretaker government it’s business as usual – Continue the massive promotion of harmful and unnecessary construction in occupied territory and in places that Israel will have to evacuate,” the organization stated in a press release.
According to the HPC, 1,150 housing units were approved for deposit (first stage of the planning process), while 786 units were approved for validation (second and final approval).
Of those units, about 89 percent will be erected in "settlements that Israel may have to evacuate under a future peace agreement with the Palestinians." Also, a plan of 180 units was deposited for Mitzpe Danny, an illegal outpost of about 50 families established in 1999 partially on private Palestinian land.
Outposts in the occupied West Bank differ from settlements as they are not “authorized” by the Israeli government. However, they are used as colonial tactics to expand illegal settlements and seizure of Palestinian land, as settlers set up them up to later get them legalized and recognized.
“Netanyahu continues to sabotage the prospects of peace, dragging Israel into an anti-democratic one-state reality resembling apartheid,” the activists said.
Israel has built some 140 settlements in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 six-day war. These settlements are illegal under international law. Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, was divided into two areas in 1997, the so-called H1 and H2.
With some 200,000 Palestinians, the H1 zone is under the control of the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah. While some 33,000 Palestinians reside in the H2 zone, along with hundreds of Jewish settlers living under Israeli civil law.
On Nov. 18, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are not “inconsistent with international law,” leaving behind a 40-year-long position of policy regarding the sensitive issue and endorsing Israel’s illegal settlements at the expense of the peace process and the two states solution.
According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says an occupying power cannot move its civilian population into the territory it occupies.
On Dec. 18, United Nations Middle East special coordinator Nickolay Mladenov said that Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal and violate 2016 U.N. resolution 2334.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a report calling for Israeli settlement expansion plans “cease immediately and completely.”