Palestine slams Israeli PM for supporting settlement expansion

Ramallah: Palestine has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for saying that he supports the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.

In an official statement sent to Xinhua news agency on Friday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it condemns Bennett’s remarks he made in a meeting held on Thursday in the West Bank.

During the meeting, Bennett promised “not to freeze the advancement and approval of building plans for new Jewish homes in the West Bank’s settlements”, the Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian statement condemned Bennett’s meeting and his remarks “provocative and never show any credibility toward a mutual trust-building and restoring calm, security and stability”.

“Telling the settlers that he supports developing and building settlements and, at the same time, saying that the settlements won’t be annexed is a policy of playing with words and expressions,” the statement said.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by the Palestinians, in the 1967 Middle East war and has controlled them ever since.

The Jewish settlements are considered a violation of international law by most of the international community.

Direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stopped in 2014 after the US sponsored it for nine months without making any progress due to deep differences on issues of Israeli settlement and recognising a Palestinian state.