Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Israel closes Palestinian media groups in West Bank raids

Israel closes Palestinian media groups in West Bank raids

"We condemn the Israeli authorities' advancement of the procedure related to the construction of 1,588 additional units at illegal settlements in West Bank which they keep under occupation", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

They include 102 homes for Amichai, the first new government-sanctioned settlement built in the Palestinian territories in some 25 years.

"This would be the first plan for settlers in Hebron since 2002, when approximately 10 housing units were built in Tel Rumeida under the excuse of security need", the group said in a press release.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has felt increased pressure for settlement expansion from the rightist flank of his coalition, though construction is not imminent as a bureaucratic process must still run its course. "These unacceptable violations of the most fundamental rights of the Palestinian people destroy the ground for a two-state solution". "The proper Palestinian response must be to continue to stabilize the internal Palestinian government and work for the success of our reconciliation".

Peace Now said the settlement push was "distancing us daily from the possibility of a two-state solution".

U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman is a supporter of settlements and has reportedly in the past been president of a group called American Friends of Beit El Institutions. Also this week, Israel published a tender for 296 homes there.

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The construction plans were approved two years ago but suspended following tensions with the then-administration of president Barack Obama, a harsh critic of Israel's building policy in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinians look forward to the annual olive harvest season, which is a major income source for thousands of Palestinian families in the West Bank.

Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog, said the new permit would increase the number of settlers in Hebron by 20 percent.

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About 430,000 Israeli settlers live among 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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