Ramallah, Jan 5 (IANS) The Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories increased by 70 per cent in 2019, according to a report issued here.

Israel announced tenders to build around 10,000 new settlement units in 2019, compared to 6,800 in 2018, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Palestine Liberation Organization report as saying on Saturday.

Israel has demolished 617 homes that belong to Palestinians, displacing at least 898 citizens, according to the report.

“The anti-Palestinian policies of the US government have encouraged Israel and settlement organizations to escalate their attacks on the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” it noted.

Such moves come behind Israeli government’s intentions to impose sovereignty over the Jordan Valley that takes up around one third of the West Bank to seek electoral gains, the report warned.

The Israeli settlement activity is considered illegal under international law and has been one of the major hurdles to the stalled peace talks between Palestine and Israel since 2014.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in November 2019 that Washington would no longer consider Israel’s West Bank settlements “inconsistent” with international law, in a move believed to further dim the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.




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