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                                        Volume. 12120

NAM condemns Israel over illegal settlements
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An Israeli bulldozer sits at a construction site in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). (file photo)
An Israeli bulldozer sits at a construction site in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). (file photo)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has censured Israel over its latest plans to build more illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.
 
NAM issued a statement condemning Israel after the group’s permanent representatives held a meeting on Monday in New York, Press TV reported. 
 
The NAM statement described Israel’s land-grab policy as a violation of international law.
 
The 120-member body also demanded that Israel halt its illegal settlement construction activities.
 
In addition, NAM urged the United Nations to pressure Israel to lift all the restrictions imposed on Palestinians.
 
Last month, Israeli officials said they would go ahead with plans to build 6,500 settler units on Palestinian territory, despite the opposition of the United Nations and the international community.
 
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
 
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
 
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.
 
In December 2012, the European Union and Russia censured Israel over its new settlement plans.
 
After an EU-Russia summit in Brussels on December 21, the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a joint statement, saying, "The European Union and the Russian Federation are deeply dismayed by and strongly oppose Israeli plans to expand settlements in the (occupied) West Bank and in particular plans to develop the E-1 area."
 
Israeli settlement activities in the so-called E-1 area refer to construction by the Israeli regime in the area between East al-Quds and the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank.
 
The EU and Russia stated that settlements are illegal under international law.
 
Many countries, including some of Tel Aviv’s allies, have condemned the Israeli plans to construct illegal settler units on the occupied territories.
 
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on December 3 that the Israeli plan is “pure vengeance against the Palestinians following the UN vote.”
 
On November 29, the 193-member UN General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from non-member observer entity to non-member observer state.
 
The status has granted Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court.

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