Israel’s new housing Minister Uri Ariel has signalled that the expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories will continue unabated.
Mr Ariel, who is a Jewish settler himself and a member of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party told television audiences on Sunday that the incoming cabinet of Prime Minister Netanyahu would continue settlement building “in accordance with what the government’s policy has been thus far.” During the course of the interview Ariel used biblical names for the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, saying that his government would “build in Judea and Samaria more or less as it has done previously. I see no reason to change it.”
The building of Jewish settlements, which derailed peace talks in 2010 and has so far prevented their resumption, is seen by most countries around the world as a breach of international law. Since Palestine won recognition for its claim to statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in November 2012 the government of Israel has stepped up its settlement building plans. Since November plans to build 11,000 new houses in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have been announced – nearly twice the number built from 2009 to 2012….