Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed criticisms by the United States and the European Union (EU) of the Zionist regime’s plan to build more than 1,000 settler units in the occupied Palestinian lands.
“I’ve heard the claim that our construction [of 1,060 new settler units] in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem (East al-Quds) distances peace. It’s this criticism that distances peace. These statements are detached from reality,” the Israeli premier said on Tuesday.
On Monday, after Netanyahu approved the settler units’ construction plan, US State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said Washington is “deeply concerned” by the plan and that “moving forward with this type of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.”
“We continue to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem,” Psaki said.
For its part, the EU said Israel plan calls “once again into serious question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated solution with the Palestinians,” warning Tel Aviv of the consequences of such a move on ties between EU and Israel.
But Netanyahu said the settlement plan will continue, adding, “We will continue to build in Jerusalem, our eternal capital. We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in Jerusalem.”
More than half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds in 1967.
The Israeli settlements are considered to be illegal by the United Nations and most countries because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are thus subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.