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Arab League condemns Israeli initial approval of settlement bill

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-09 09:52

CAIRO - The Arab League (AL) strongly condemned the recent Israeli initial approval of a settlement legalization bill, urging the international community to pressure Israel to stop settlement expansion, the pan-Arab organization said in a statement Thursday.

"The international community should be aware of the real face of the current Israeli government that carries out unprecedented settlement construction," AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said in the statement, stressing that settlement construction will remain "illegitimate and outlawed" and passing the related law will not change the fact.

The Knesset, Israel's parliament, passed on Wednesday a first reading of the controversial legislation that is meant to retroactively legalize about 4,000 settlement homes and to allow expropriation of more Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

"Issuing such a bill is no surprise under an Israeli government most of whose members reject the two-state solution and openly call for settlement expansion to obstruct this solution forever," said Aboul-Gheit.

Earlier on Monday, the Knesset also voted in support of a first reading of bill legalizing unauthorized Israeli outposts in the West Bank, which has also been rejected by the AL and many Arab states including Egypt.

Israel is blamed by the international community for the deadlock of the Middle East peace process due to its settlement expansion policy that is rejected even by its closest ally, the United States.

Supported by the United States, Russia, China, the European Union and many other states, the two-state solution seeks to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.


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